Brendan Rodgers pleased with debutant Calvin Miller as Celtic beat Thistle

By Matt T
20 December 2016

Brendan Rodgers drew comparisons between Celtic debutant Calvin Miller and England international Ryan Bertrand after the 18-year-old made his debut in the 1-0 win over Partick Thistle at Parkhead.

Miller, primarily a forward, came in at left-back and lasted over an hour before making way for Emilio Izaguirre as Scott Sinclair's 16th-minute strike took the Hoops 14 points clear of Rangers at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Rodgers claimed to sees similar traits between Miller and Bertrand, whom he worked with in the youth set-up at Chelsea and who went on to play in the Champions League final with the Blues before moving to Southampton.

The Celtic manager said: "I was delighted for a young player who has just moved position. I thought he did very well and he wants to learn and develop.

"I did a similar thing with Ryan Bertrand when I was at Chelsea. We took him in from Gillingham to Chelsea and he came in as a left-winger and in the same team was Scott Sinclair, who was a striker.

"I moved Scotty wide and put Ryan to left-back and he went on to play with England and won the Champions League with Chelsea and is now at Southampton and he's an outstanding player.

"I see similar sort of traits in Calvin, where he can do that one position behind but he's only 18 so he needs time to learn that position and role but he's got some outstanding qualities and can offer the club something going forward."

Miller was one of eight changes Rodgers made to the Celtic side and although they were not at their best, are unbeaten in 21 domestic games.

"It's not easy but I think you have to credit the players in terms of how they go from game to game to game," Rodgers added.

"To not slip up domestically really shows a real persistence and resistance that's in the team and energy to keep going.

"We play in a way that has a systematic approach. If one player comes in he understands his function in the team.

"There's no way I can play all the players in every game. They have international games on top of that so you just can't do it.

"At times you're going to use a wee bit of fluency but you see other characteristics in the team. There's spells of great football, great possession, creating chances.

"We should have scored more goals to make it calmer but still having that mentality to win is very, very important."

Thistle assistant manager Scott Paterson admits the Jags were left frustrated by their missed chances, especially when defender Ziggy Gordon broke into the Hoops penalty area unopposed only to fire wide

Paterson said: "The boys were very good. We kept our discipline and shape.

"We frustrated them and created a few good chances, which we didn't take.

"We expected Ziggy to score but it never went in. We need to start taking these chances.

"It was costly as we could have left here with a point, so that's disappointing.

"We need to start taking chances. You have got to ride your luck, which we did at times, worked on it to keep our shape narrow and force the ball wide. I don't think a lot of teams will come here and create these type of chances. "

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