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Brendan Rodgers believes ‘excellent’ Luis Palma is adapting to Celtic’s demands

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 8 Oct 2023

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Brendan Rodgers believes Luis Palma is gradually becoming more accustomed to the demands of playing for Celtic.

The Honduran scored his team’s second goal in the 3-1 win over Kilmarnock in what was his first Premiership start since arriving from Aris Thessaloniki in August.

Rodgers felt it was unrealistic to expect new signings to be “perfect right away” and revealed he was looking only for incremental improvement.

The Celtic manager said: “The players at the top end of the pitch have to create and score goals, that’s their contribution.

“But Luis is settling in very well. These guys are coming from different climates and cultures.

“People feel the need for them to be perfect right away. I don’t, it’s all about adaptability.

“If they feed into the club’s winning mentality, they’ll improve here.

“You see with Palma, he’s getting better game by game. He was excellent today and scored a very good goal.

“He was dangerous. He played his part in a very good collective performance.”

Kilmarnock got a goal back through David Watson with the score at 2-0, but Rodgers believed a foul should have been awarded in the build-up.

He added: “We had the ball on the edge of the box, Greg Taylor was manhandled by their guy to the ground and we didn’t get a foul.

“The VAR only started when the play went forward. They scored from the position Greg would have been in.

“I don’t like talking about referees, but we’ve now got a whole team of people looking at it. The ref doesn’t see it, he had his back to the play. By the time he turned around, the foul was committed.

“But a guy on the line can see it, like me. On top of that, there’s a VAR team watching it with a cup of tea and no drama. They still didn’t see it.”

Celtic had a penalty award overturned by the VAR following a coming-together between Reo Hatate and Watson.

Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes – who would not address speculation linking him with the Rangers managerial vacancy – felt the Japanese midfielder had embellished any contact.

He said: “My first thought was that Hatate has gone down far too easily. For me, he’s waiting for contact. But I don’t think there was any contact. If I’m wrong then I’ll apologise.

“But for me, it’s trying to buy a penalty and the referee has bought it as I thought he would. I thought, ‘he’s going to give a penalty here’ and he did.

“My heart sank and then VAR overturned it. But that’s far too easy to go down, far too easy from Hatate. That’s poor.”

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