Celtic 1-0 Aberdeen: 'Brilliant' Dedryck Boyata getting better - Brendan Rodgers

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Scottish Premiership highlights: Celtic 1-0 Aberdeen

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers praised Dedryck Boyata for his persistence in adversity after a second match-winning goal since returning to the side.

The Belgian centre-back's header was enough to beat Aberdeen 1-0 and extend Celtic's Premiership lead to 25 points.

Boyata also scored the winner against St Johnstone last week after securing a place following the winter break.

"He has been absolutely brilliant and game on game he has been getting better," Rodgers told BBC Scotland.

"He has the tools to be a top-class centre-half and at the moment he is producing those performances.

"I saw Dedryck as a young player and thought he was destined to be in the English Premier League for many years.

"Whatever happened, he found himself here when I came in. At 26, he had all the attributes but wasn't playing. It was frustrating for him. He was injured and the team started well.

"But is is about constant communication. The biggest thing with players is to recognise and acknowledge they are working well and working hard.

"It is difficult when you are not playing, but they have to be ready when the chance comes because I will always reward the players who are playing well and they will stay in the team."

Dedryck Boyata heads home the winner against Aberdeen
Boyata headed home Scott Sinclair's free-kick to stretch Celtic's Premiership lead

Boyata joined Celtic from Manchester City in the summer of 2015 and scored six goals in 42 outings under Ronny Deila last season.

But he missed out on Euro 2016 with Belgium after tearing his hamstring in training before the tournament, and was restricted to a single appearance under Rodgers in the first half of the current campaign, before starting the last four games.

"I've been through some tough moments and coming back with an injury, and also missing the Euros," Boyota told BBC Scotland.

"Even coming back from injury you need to get the fitness back. From there, the team is playing well and you're trying to get a place in the team.

"I've been working very hard and now it's paying off. So, I can only be happy with what's happening right now.

"From the beginning, [Brendan] has told me what he wants me to do and where he wanted me to improve.

"That's what I've been doing every week. Every time I was improving on one point he'd come over with another point until I got to where he wanted me to get, and then I got my chance to play.

"We have a very good coach who has improved us and I hope it is going to pay off until the end of the season."

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