Rangers 0-1 Celtic: Brendan Rodgers urges players to go and claim League Cup

Scott Brown, Moussa Dembele and Erik Sviatchenko
Celtic will face Aberdeen in the League Cup final on 27 November

Brendan Rodgers has urged his Celtic players to emphasise the progress being made at the club by winning the first silverware of the season.

The Celtic manager believes his players underlined their improvement with their performance in the 1-0 League Cup semi-final win over Rangers.

He wants them to carry that into next month's final against Aberdeen.

"In order to rubber stamp that [development], you want to get trophies," said Rodgers.

"There are areas I want to improve in over time, but the players are performing magnificently well, they have that hunger to succeed and they're playing the game at a real top-level tempo, with and without the ball.

"We can concentrate on [the final] in a couple of weeks' time, but [the win over Rangers was a] great performance deserving of getting to a final."

Celtic dominated possession at Hampden, creating a number of chances before eventually securing the victory with Moussa Dembele's 87th-minute goal, which was created by substitute Leigh Griffiths.

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Rodgers & Dembele savour semi-final win

Rodgers - who has now reached the final of a national cup competition for the first time in his managerial career - hailed the impact of Griffiths and fellow substitute Stuart Armstrong, but also the display of captain Scott Brown.

He felt the level of performance was equal to the one that delivered a 5-1 victory to Celtic in the first Old Firm league game of the season, but just lacked the finishing touch.

"We were very dominant in terms of chances, the power and strength of our game, the quality," Rodgers said.

"Sometimes you never know, if the chances don't go in or you don't get that little bit of luck, you're always vulnerable to a counter attack.

"Every element of our game was at a high level, and when you consider coming off the back of a Champions League [defeat by Borussia Monchengladbach] in midweek, the players deserve a huge amount of credit for the performance and their strength and mentality.

"I've been made aware since I've been here that the last game here [the Scottish Cup semi-final defeat in April], Rangers were much the better team, physically and technically, but the players feel their performance today and in the last Rangers v Celtic game was at a really top level and they're getting the reward and success for the hard work that they're putting in.

Celtic captain Scott Brown
Brendan Rodgers praised the performance of captain Scott Brown

"It was after this game last season that there was talk Scott Brown might have been finished. He totally dominated the middle of the field, firstly defensively, how he orchestrated the game, his pressure, his physicality, then you see his quality, he makes the team tick, he gets on the ball and plays forward."

Mark Warburton felt his Rangers side improved from their performance in the last Old Firm game, and insisted there were "positives" to take from the defeat.

"We can't afford to sit and mope around," Warburton said. "We have a very important league game on Wednesday night and on Saturday, against tough opposition [St Johnstone then Kilmarnock]. The point is to learn from the game, and this so-called gap is a lot narrower than people think, I hope.

"The best way of keeping your critics quiet is to win games of football and that's what we have to do. We were far more aggressive in our pressing, the tempo was higher and we were on the front foot."

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