Brendan Rodgers says Boyata did his talking on the pitch
Celtic manager praised defender for coping with the negative reaction from home fans
Dedryck Boyata after scoring the winning goal against Hamilton. Photograph: Getty Images
The Hoops went into the Scottish Premiership encounter with Accies on Sunday having been held to a 1-1 draw with Suduva in the first leg of their Europa League play-off.
Celtic dominated the play against Martin Canning’s dogged side as expected but it took until the 63rd minute for returning defender Dedryck Boyata to knock in the winner and secure three Ladbrokes Premiership points.
Rodgers said: “It was a good win for us on the back of a European game. I give big credit to the players as it’s never easy.
“Hamilton are also very well organised and I’ve seen that in the last couple of years here.
“They defend strongly and have fit players that move well and deny you a lot of space in the game, so we knew we were going to have to be patient.
“We created opportunities but never quite took them and eventually made the breakthrough.
“Apart from the first 20 seconds we didn’t give away anything, and defensively we looked solid and tight.
“You always hope to get more goals which would’ve decided the game a bit earlier.
“It wasn’t to be but we take the goal, the clean sheet, and we were happy with the three points.”
Rodgers also praised Boyata for coping with the negative reaction from Celtic fans, unhappy at his decision not to play in the Hoops’ Champions League exit against AEK Athens in Greece — he claimed to be injured while Rodgers disagreed.
The 27-year-old Belgium international came out before the game to see a banner which said, ‘Boyata — not fit to wear the jersey’ and there was a mixed reception to his early touches.
However, all the bad feeling evaporated when he got the vital goal.
Rodgers said: “Obviously I would have preferred a different reaction but I am not going to criticise the supporters.
“I will give credit to Dedryck and how he coped with it and you’ve seen the (positive) reaction from probably three quarters of the ground.
“When you are trying to redeem yourself sometimes it takes a bit of time.
“It wouldn’t have been easy for him. I think he done all his talking on the pitch.
“I thought he was top class, everything he had to do he did with a real quality and of course he gets the winning goal.”