Brendan Rodgers was full of praise after Celtic defeated Kilmarnock 5-0 in the League Cup last-16 tie at Celtic Park last night.
The Hoops were ruthless with their finishing and the young defence did well to keep a clean sheet , leaving Craig Gordon near motionless all night.
Kieran Tierney made his first competitive appearance as captain, and he marked it with a 40-yard screamer as Celtic went 50 domestic games unbeaten.
Rodgers’ squad has his full backing, and that was demonstrated through the mixed side he produced to send the Bhoys through to the next round of the League Cup.
Speaking to the media, Rodgers said:
I feel I can play whatever team I want out of the squad we have and we’ll still play to a really high level. What we’ve shown in this early part of the season is that we’re getting into our flow much quicker than last season.
It was a brilliant team performance. The players deserve a huge amount of credit for how hard they worked, how aggressive they were and hungry for the ball.
I think we had six players who were 20 or under starting the game and we finished with about the same amount of academy players playing. It shows it’s not just about the high profile players, it’s about young guys like Tony Ralston getting his first goal for Celtic. He’ll never forget it and he was outstanding on the night.
The academy players certainly took their chance, and they will look to provide competition towards the more senior players in their position as the season progresses.
Celtic have had a run of games with very little rest period, and it was a positive that Rodgers could afford to rest high profile players in such an important match.
Rodgers illustrated the depth of his squad last night, which is the next chapter in his managerial career at Celtic Park as he looks to implement a long term solution by bringing through players from the academy who are talented enough for the first-team.
The Hoops are in action again on Friday night against Partick Thistle at Firhill, as they look to get another three points on the board after last weekend’s win over Hearts.