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Celtic beat Kilmarnock, increase SP lead

Press Association logoPress Association 18/11/2016 By Gavin McCafferty

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers hailed his team's defensive display after a seventh consecutive domestic clean sheet proved crucial at Kilmarnock.

Stuart Armstrong netted the only goal 90 seconds before the break at Rugby Park as Celtic went 13 points clear in the Scottish Premiership.

Kilmarnock goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald made decent stops from Callum McGregor and Patrick Roberts early in the second half to keep Lee Clark's team in it and Celtic needed to stand firm as the hosts pushed forward without carving a clear chance.

Rodgers, who had Dedryck Boyata making his first appearance for seven months and midfielder McGregor in his second-half back four, said: "You can see the solidity of the team, how we have been building that defensive philosophy.

"With the two-week break, having hardly had any of the players, changing around the team, playing on astroturf, it was a brilliant result.

"Nights like this are very, very important, coming away when it's absolutely freezing. We had to dig in towards the end. It's a great feeling to win after not being together for two weeks."

Celtic were without Leigh Griffiths, who is a doubt for the Champions League visit of Barcelona on Wednesday.

"We will see how he goes in the coming few days," Rodgers said. "He came back from Scotland and had tightness in his hamstring."

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