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30th Jul 2016

Brendan Rodgers’ reaction to Efe Ambrose’s own goal was priceless

"Bless him."

Robert Redmond

Poor Efe Ambrose.

The Celtic defender made an error that led to the Lincoln Red Imps’ winner in the Champions League earlier this month – so he was always going to have his hands full against Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez at the Aviva Stadium, as the Hoops’ took on Barcelona in the International Champions Cup.

Ambrose, under no pressure from an opposition player, guided the ball into his own net from a Barca cross, minutes after Leigh Griffiths had equalised.

Celtic lost the pre-season game 3-1, and a section of the club’s fans noticeably cheered when the hapless Ambrose was substituted in the second-half.

When asked about the central defender’s performance after the game, Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers could only take pity on the 28-year-old.

Lionel Messi with Efe Ambrose 30/7/2016

“He’s an unlucky guy, bless him. I think that a striker would’ve been proud of that goal.” Rodgers said.

“He was so unfortunate. I thought he actually done okay at times. He’s in a decent enough area, the ball gets whipped in, but there’s no real danger. For it to come his leg that far outside of the post and go in the far corner was disappointing, especially after getting back into the game. But sometimes these things happen, and in the main he did okay.”

The former Liverpool manager was then asked about the reaction from a section of the Celtic supporters when the defender was substituted.

Rodgers said he hadn’t heard boos or cheers at the time, and defended the Nigerian international.

“If it was that I didn’t hear it myself, but if it was, it wasn’t nice,” the Northern Irishman said.

“Whatever his faults are, he’s a real good guy who gives his all for the club. He devotes his life to Celtic, he prepares well, he trains well, he doesn’t cheat. He trains every single day, he’s a man who wants to get better. I would like to think the Celtic supporters will support every player that plays, whether that’s Efe or anyone else. Once they pull on the green and white jersey, everyone needs that support.”

An honourable defence of his confidence-shot player from Rodgers, but expect Kolo Toure to replace Ambrose at the first available opportunity.

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