Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers lauded the mentality and fitness of his players last night after bouncing back from their record-breaking undefeated run coming to an end at the weekend with a win over Partick Thistle.

The victory came in the champions’ 35th game of the season, and the Celtic boss was delighted by how his men dug deep to see off a stuffy Thistle outfit with goals from Stuart Armstrong and Kieran Tierney.

“It’s so, so tough for the players,” said Rodgers. “You are virtually asked to play back-to-back seasons. It’s incredible the energy they have to put in.

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“It took us a bit of time to get going and find our range, but you see the condition of the players and how they got stronger during the game.

“There are certain parts of the team where you need to be dynamic and the players showed that. We created other chances, but it was vital for us to keep a clean sheet.

“It’s a mark of the team. I’ve seen it in my time here. I said to them before the game that you define yourself as a team whenever you have disappointment and what your reaction is to it.

“I thought the players reacted well. It was always going to be tricky. The games here last season were 1-1 and 1-0, so we knew it was going to be difficult and we came through it very well.”

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Armstrong’s moment of magic 10 minutes before the break shook Celtic out of a lethargic start to the game, and Rodgers is hoping that his midfielder is now getting back to the scintillating form he showed last season.

“We had to be patient,” he said. “Alan sets his teams up well and organised. There wasn’t going to space and we needed that bit of magic from Stuart.

“It was an absolutely brilliant goal and give us comfort in the game.

“He’s got that knack. He hasn’t scored as many goals as this time last season, but it was around this time and period that he kicked on last season and had a really strong end.

“He’s at his best when he’s being aggressive and has the natural instinct to score. It’s a brilliant strike coming off the angle of the box. It was outstanding.”

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Rodgers meanwhile resisted the urge to condemn Thistle midfielder Gary Fraser, who belted the ball into the crowd in Celtic’s main stand late in the game to the fury of the supporters in that area of the ground.

“I just caught the tail end of it,” said Rodgers. “I would have to give the benefit of the doubt to the player because I would sincerely hope he wouldn’t be smashing a ball into a crowd on purpose.

“It was only my staff who told me what happened. You’d like to think he didn’t mean it.

“It’s a respect element as well. I don’t think there is a need to do it.

“If you are that close to supporters who are paying money to go and watch a game, you shouldn’t be doing things like that.

“There’s no need. There’s maybe frustration from the young player because he is not playing or losing a game, but you don’t do that.”