Celtic 5-0 Kilmarnock: Brendan Rodgers praises goal hero Kieran Tierney

Brendan Rodgers and Kieran Tierney
Brendan Rodgers paid tribute to Kieran Tierney's professionalism and commitment to improving himself.

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers says Kieran Tierney will only improve after seeing him score a stunning goal in the 5-0 hammering of Kilmarnock.

The 20-year-old captained a much-changed Celtic side as they started their League Cup defence in style.

"He's a talent who is only going to get better," Rodgers told BBC Scotland.

"It was a spectacular goal and at this stage of the season it will be right up there, he had to have been 40 yards out and the power was phenomenal."

The hosts were already 3-0 up courtesy of a Leigh Griffiths double either side of Anthony Ralston's header when Tierney rifled the ball beyond Jamie MacDonald.

Kieran Tierney scores
Tierney made it 4-0 with a sensational strike from distance

Usually deployed at left-back, Scotland international Tierney was playing at centre-back and adapted to the role seamlessly.

"He stepped into it really well and I knew as soon as he had his first touch that he was going to have a shot," Rodgers added. "He's shown it in training a number of times, he's got an absolute rocket of a left foot.

"He again shows his qualities playing at left centre-half. He defended well, was aggressive, strong, quick, and with the ball he has real quality. It was a great ball for Griff and all round he's a big talent and a great kid who deserves it.

"He is a boy who doesn't do daft things - he's very focused. He doesn't drink, he's very concentrated in his life as a footballer, he rests, he recovers and he doesn't spend his time doing stupid things, he's very professional. He trains to the max every single day, he throws his life into being a footballer and gets his rewards for it. He's got a great future ahead and he loves being at Celtic."

Rodgers made eight changes from the side that beat Hearts 4-1 on Saturday, with five of his starting line-up under the age of 20.

Anthony Ralston scores
Rodgers was delighted with youngster Ralston, who scored his first goal for the club to make it 2-0

And Rodgers says the performance showed the depth of quality he has at his disposal.

"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," he added. "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."

For Killie boss Lee McCulloch it was a painful night, but he too looked to learn something about his squad.

"We didn't deserve anything from the game," McCulloch told BBC Scotland.

"You can judge players more when you're getting beat than you can when you're winning, and the majority of the players showed the character tonight."

Griffiths scores
Leigh Griffiths scored twice, including a penalty, as Celtic cruised past Kilmarnock

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