BRENDAN Rodgers last night denied he had made too many changes to his side after Celtic drew 1-1 with Motherwell at Fir Park and passed up the chance to reclaim top spot in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Rodgers made no fewer than seven alterations to the starting line-up which had defeated Aberdeen 1-0 at Hampden on Sunday to retain the Betfred Cup.

But the Northern Irishman, whose team took the lead through Ryan Christie in the first-half and were leading until Danny Johnston struck with three minutes remaining, insisted that was not the reason for the dropped points.

“When you bring in full international players you’d expect it to be okay," he said. "You can’t go through a season with 11 players. We have players out injured so, yeah, it was what we had to do.

“It was not a very good performance. It was a game that we didn’t play well in, in the first-half in particular.

“We scored a good goal and then didn’t take the chance with the penalty and also had a good goal ruled out from Filip Benkovic. At that stage I wasn’t so happy with our positioning and level of our game.

“In the second half our positioning was better but we were still too loose. Then of course if you don’t take chances you are vulnerable at the end of the game.

"I look at the performance. From our perspective it’s a poor goal to lose. We didn’t win the first ball, the second and the third and he scores from a very narrow angle. It was a disappointing goal to concede.

“I don’t think they took it for granted it was down to concentration. And we also had a good goal disallowed and a chance from a penalty. We just made too many mistakes. It’s definitely two points dropped."

Asked if he will make the same number of changes to his side in the future, Rodgers said: “Yes, if I have to. The result doesn’t change the fact were comfortable at 1-0 and we have to see it out. The last four or five minutes doesn’t change that.”

Kilmarnock defeated Livingston 2-0 at Rugby Park to move ahead of both Celtic and Rangers and Rodgers is now looking forward to te game against them at Parkhead on Saturday.

“Kilmarnock have played a couple more games than us, but it’s still really good for them to be up there and it makes the game at the weekend very important for us," he said. "It’s still very early."

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson, who lost Peter Hartley and Liam Donnelly to injury in the first 15 minutes, was delighted with the point and is hoping his side can maintain their level of performance and move up the table.

"We have been so up and down," he said. "It’s been so frustrating. We’ve had brilliant performances against Dundee and St Mirren and then you get the performances against Rangers and Livingston.

"I’ve reiterated all week that if you do the basics right, if you are organised and disciplined and deal with set plays and win your physical battles, then you’ve got a chance.

"They’ve done that tonight and done that in all the games we’ve been successful in and you cannot go below that."

“It’s good for a manager to see – players will knock and ask about why they are not playing and I need to see a game like that.

“We’ll recover and look forward to playing athome as it feels like ages since we played at home.”


“He just cramped up – it’s his first start in a while and the idea was to get minutes into his legs.

“Ntcham change was tactical. We needed more – it was as simple as that.”

Tinker in future?