FILIP BENKOVIC has made the admission he SHOULDN’T have started at Ibrox after hurting his knee at Pittodrie.

The €14.5million man (As quoted on limped off in the first half of Celtic’s disappointing 1-0 defeat to the Govan side during the last game of 2018. The defender seemed to pull up on his own as he stretched to make sure he got control of a loose ball while being pressed.

The injury count was mounting before Ibrox and the decision to play on is one Filip now regrets and his manager does too.

It was a catalogue of issues which culminated in the defeat at Ibrox. An unfit Benkovic starting and having to be subbed, Kieran Tierney injured, Edouard not fit and Lustig having to come off at half time severely limiting Rodgers ability to change the game or his shape with substitutions. It’s crazy to think Celtic went to Ibrox without a recognised forward starting.

Had the defender to make the choice again, he would think twice about starting but as he told RecordSport, he was ‘Desperate’ to play.

“During the Rangers match, I felt the same pain I’d felt at Aberdeen the week before in the 10th minute.

“I knew then that it was impossible to continue so I told the coach and we made the decision to come off.

“Before the game I’d taken some medicine, a lot of stuff, but it didn’t help. We had a few injuries already in defence and sometimes you get days like that. It was tough, you know. But I tried. I just wasn’t going to make it.

“In hindsight, maybe I shouldn’t have played. But when you’re a footballer you want to play in every game – especially that one!

“You play football for games like that. Those matches are different so you want to give everything – even if it’s on one leg!

“So I tried but it didn’t work. Now, I’m not thinking about the Rangers game any more.

“We didn’t play well so we’ll move forward to the next game. That defeat is in the past and our focus is to be much better.”


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