By James Black
Former Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel has praised the “great job” his former Anfield boss Brendan Rodgers is doing at Celtic.
Rodgers is yet to lose a domestic game 16 months after taking charge at Parkhead and has guided his side into the group stages of the Champions League in successive seasons.
Skrtel played under Rodgers for Liverpool but isn’t surprised to see his former manager be such a success north of the border.
Speaking after his own goal in Slovakia’s 1-0 loss at Hampden, Skrtel also claimed that Scotland’s reliance on a number of Celtic players can explain their improvement over the qualifying phases.
Scotland lost 3-0 when the sides met in Trnava earlier in the campaign and Skrtel is confident Rodgers’ arrival at Celtic in 2016 can explain a big part of the transformation in the Scots.
“Brendan is a great manager, you know,” Skrtel said, as quoted by the Evening Times website.
“I played with him for two or three seasons at Liverpool.
“He is a nice guy and a top manager so I am not surprised he is doing a great job there.
“And we knew how much they relied on the Celtic players before the game.
“I think it was after our game in Trnava that Scotland changed a lot, they brought a lot more players in from Celtic and they started playing quite well.
“We knew before the game it was going to be difficult. The red card was something that we didn’t expect but that is football and we can’t change anything now.
“We just have to believe and wait.”
Rodgers’ Celtic side return to domestic action when they face Dundee next Saturday.
The Hoops are level on points with Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership and have a six-point gap over third-placed Rangers.
The Scottish champions also face Bayern Munich later this month in the Champions League as they try and secure European football after Christmas.