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13.09.2018 13:49
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Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is refusing to believe victory at Aberdeen on Saturday will see the race for the Scottish Premiership title all-but over. The Hoops head to Pittodrie with a seven-point cushion - and a game in hand - over their closest rivals following their 4-0 victory over Ross County on Wednesday evening.The previous night saw the Dons slip to a shock 1-0 defeat against Hamilton at New Douglas Park but Rodgers, who made eight changes for the trip to Dingwall, is taking nothing for granted ahead of the Sky Live showdown. Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports News HQ, the Northern Irishman said: Irrespective of the result on Saturday there is still a long way to go in the season. Brendan Rodgers says there is a long way to go no matter what the result at Aberdeen We have made a terrific start playing at a really high level with a tempo to our game. We have players who are improving all the time and hopefully the teams performance will improve over the course of the season.Others may be looking at it (being all over) but we dont. For me it is always about the next game coming up and can we take the confidence of our start into that game. The next game now is Aberdeen. We know it will be tough for us but we expect that and it is one we are looking forward to.And Rodgers says he had no hesitation in making wholesale changes to his side for the midweek trip to Dingwall, insisting he has the utmost confidence in any player he drafts into his squad. Patrick Roberts scores the opener against Ross County after being recalled to the starting XI Following the Betfred Cup semi-final victory over Rangers at Hampden last Sunday, Rodgers chose to rest a number of first-team players including Tom Rogic, Kieran Tierney, Jozo Simunovic and Scott Brown, whose wife gave birth to his third son earlier in the day. Celtic captain Scott Brown explains who deserves the credit for the clubs strong start I just felt with the games we had leading up to last night, plus the next three games after that, that it would put too much of a demand on the same players playing in those games, he said.Especially when I have very good players who havent been playing. It also gave me a chance to look at them away from home, away from the comfort of Celtic Park with 60,000 fans behind them. Roberts (second left) celebrates with Liam Henderson, Ryan Christie and Leigh Griffiths Could they cope, could they play with that intensity and pressure and they responded very, very well and it was pleasing from that respect.Leigh Griffiths and Patrick Roberts were two of the changes against County and Rodgers admits both enhanced their chances of a return to first-team football following spells out through injury.Roberts, on loan from Manchester City until the end of the season, opened the scoring and had a hand in the other three goals, while Griffiths was a constant threat to the home defence for most of the evening. Moussa Dembele and Leigh Griffiths vying for starting berth up front against Aberdeen Asked if there is a danger of Griffiths trying too hard to score and force his way back into the side, Rodgers added: No, he doesnt have to do that and I have said that to him.He started the season brilliantly before he got injured and came out of the team. Similar to Patrick Roberts really. Both outstanding players who were in the starting XI at the beginning of the season, but who both got injured and were out for a period of time. Aberdeen vs Celtic October 29, 2016, 11:30am Live on Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass But the two players who have come in have really taken their opportunity. James Forrest and Moussa Dembele have come in and done really well but I am well aware of the qualities of the other two.Patrick scored one last night and was involved in the other three and he is an outstanding talent, a great player to have whether he starts or comes off the bench and Leigh is a top class striker who, if he gets opportunities will score. He has just got to keep fighting, keep preparing and be ready when called upon. You can watch Premier League football, plus Englands tour of Bangladesh and the Mexican Grand Prix on Sky Sports. Upgrade now and enjoy six months at half price! 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Despite the loss, it was a remarkable show by the confident Swedish challenger, who had the best of the early rounds and then hung on in the fourth and fifth. DETROIT -- Danny Duffys season has taken quite a turn for the worse over the past month.Duffy allowed six runs and was chased in the fourth inning Friday night, and the Kansas City Royals lost 8-3 to the Detroit Tigers. Detroit remained a half-game ahead of Baltimore for the second wild card in the American League.Duffy had won 10 straight decisions before allowing seven runs in a loss at Boston on Aug. 27. Hes won only once since.Duffy (12-3) allowed seven hits in 3 2/3 innings Friday. He walked four and struck out four.I cost my team a chance to win that game, Duffy said. I just didnt have it. There are going to be days like this.Michael Fulmer pitched seven sharp innings for the Tigers in his first win in over a month. Fulmer (11-7) allowed a run and eight hits, striking out nine with no walks.Justin Upton, Victor Martinez and Cameron Maybin went deep for the Tigers, who won their fifth game in a row.I think theres a little bit of a sense of urgency now, Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. This is our last homestand. This is the last chance at home to try and do something in the standings, and were playing against two teams ... in Kansas City and Cleveland, we know very well. Maybe I was the only one that felt it, but I felt there was more energy.The Tigers jumped ahead right away against Duffy. The Royals made two errors in the first inning, and Uptons RBI double made it 2-0.They are fighting for their life and doing everything they have to do to be a playoff team, Duffy said. You could tell there was that kind of hunger there.Martinez and Upton each hit solo shots in the third, and MMaybins two-run homer in the fourth made it 6-0.ddddddddddddUpton has 27 homers on the season, including 14 in his last 29 games.Kansas City has lost nine of its last 12.DISPUTED CHALLENGEKansas Citys only run off Fulmer came after replay overturned the second out of an apparent double play, which would have ended the sixth. Ausmus complained to the umpires, saying the Royals had waited too long before challenging.I said I wanted to protest, which, even going into it, when I said it, I knew instant replay wasnt protestable, Ausmus said.After the review revived the rally, Paulo Orlando hit an RBI single.ON THE BORDERLINEFulmer is the ALs ERA leader at 2.95 -- his 155 2/3 innings are enough to qualify at this point. Hell need to throw 6 1/3 more to qualify for the title at the end of the season.The Tigers have taken steps to limit his workload, and this latest start was a positive sign.I thought Fulmer was really on top of his game, Royals manager Ned Yost said. Really good fastball, down in the zone, really good slider, really good changeup.TRAINERS ROOMRoyals: Kansas City C Salvador Perez sat out with what Yost described as a very minor knee issue.UP NEXTRoyals: Kansas City sends RHP Yordano Ventura (11-11) to the mound for Saturdays game at Detroit. 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