Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers says 'football gods' were at play in Scottish League Cup win
Last Updated: 02/12/18 11:38pm
Brendan Rodgers said the "footballing gods" had a hand in Celtic's Scottish League Cup final win after Ryan Christie's winner against his old club Aberdeen.
Christie's goal was enough to settle a tight match at Hampden Park, in which Aberdeen goalkeeper Joe Lewis kept out a second-half penalty awarded after Dominic Ball was adjudged to have handled in the box - but replays suggested the touch was both accidental and outside the area.
For Rodgers, there was something poetic about Christie scoring against the same club where he spent last season and some of 2016/17 on loan from Celtic Park, and said it was testament to the 23-year-old's improvement since the pair have worked together.
"It is the footballing gods, what we've seen today," he said. "I will repeat, when I came in [Christie] wasn't ready to play week by week, but we could see that there was a talent there.
"But for the level we want to attain and get to, you need a physicality and that power. He has had always the quality, I felt at the time he needed to get some games.
"It is a great demonstration of the different types of loans you can get. This was a development loan. I have good relations with Derek. Ryan went away and got that physicality in terms of body strength and durability.
"He came back in the summer and it was just about waiting for the moment. Like I say, football gods today, lo and behold he scores against the team that he was at for 18 months. It was a wonderful finish."
If the irony was a happy one for Rodgers, it was not for his opposite number. Defeated Dons boss Derek McInnes admitted he had hoped to keep Christie at Pittodrie permanently, and was equally frustrated by refereeing decisions he felt went against his side.
He said: "We were close to getting Ryan in the summer. We kept his number, 22, clear and it is still vacant so there is an irony within that.
"It wasn't a penalty in the first place and, if we don't have a goalkeeper like Joe Lewis, it could be 2-0 and far more difficult.
"It was clearly outside the box and I also felt there was another yellow card challenge from Christie, on the halfway line, when Dom Ball breaks.
"The referee indicated he has played the ball, he clearly hasn't and, if Celtic went down to 10 men, it might have been different.
"You need a lot of things to go your way in a final. It might sound churlish, but the fact of the matter is, a couple of decisions were harsh on my side. But Celtic have won and we congratulate them for that."