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Celtic ‘want to win league in style’ after going nine clear

Celtic captain Scott Brown applauds Celtic's fans after their victory at Aberdeen

Captain Scott Brown turned in a strong display after ending his international retirement this week

Manager Brendan Rodgers says his Celtic players are hungry to win the Scottish Premiership “in the best possible way” after moving nine points clear.

Tom Rogic’s first-half half-volley at Aberdeen proved to be the winner as the champions weathered a late Dons flurry.

They have won nine and drawn one of their first 10 games – their best start to a league season since 2004.

“It was an outstanding result for us. The players are very hungry to succeed,” Rodgers told BBC Scotland.

“The club has won the league for the last five seasons and we want to win it again this year.

“But it is not just about winning it, it is winning it the best way we possibly can, scoring as many goals as we can, and defending as a collective.

“We have set goals and targets that are not just about winning, but about performances. The performances in the first 10 league games have been outstanding.

“It is only a start. We are not even a third of the way into the season. But if we keep this momentum going and keep working, then we are setting a standard that we can keep building on.”

‘It is difficult to catch us’ – Sviatchenko

Celtic might have won far more comfortably but missed half a dozen good chances, giving Aberdeen the chance to launch a late onslaught.

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Erik Sviatchenko was grateful for Celtic keeper Craig Gordon’s intervention after mis-directing a late header towards his own goal

Rodgers thought his players “were outstanding in standing up to that”, and defender Erik Sviatchenko also relished the opportunity to show a different side to their game.

“It was a tough game. Aberdeen did all they could to beat us and tried to bully us, but I think we showed that we can also play a physical game,” the Dane told BBC Scotland.

“Some games we can play our game and score a lot of goals, but it is also really important to win these type of 1-0 games and keep a clean sheet.

“We know they are a good team when they are smashing the ball up to big guys like [Adam] Rooney, which caused us a few problems. But I think we were the better team.

“It is difficult to catch us because we are doing well but we just have to look at ourselves and try to improve in every game. If we continue to show our skills, we will be tough to beat.”

Celtic ‘are not so far ahead of Dons’- McInnes

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes defended his decision to leave striker Rooney and midfielder James Maddison on the bench until the second half, insisting his fourth-placed side are not intimidated by Celtic’s seemingly unstoppable title charge.

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Maddison (centre) volleyed a late chance over for Aberdeen after coming on as a substitute

“There are acceptable ways of losing and I think today was one of them,” he told BBC Scotland.

“We tried to play our game against them, but the danger is you don’t want the game to get too stretched and then their quality up front comes through.

“That was in evidence for the Rogic goal, but there was a lot of determination, effort and thought in the way we played.

“We know we are capable of beating them and I am not having it that they are so far ahead of us.

“The difference between their players and mine might be £500,000 or £600,000 a year, but when you get on the pitch, it is 11 v 11.

“We can beat Celtic and I think today showed that. They will know that for the [League] Cup final next month.”