Tom Rogic is a Celtic Lionel Messi claims Josip Juranovic as he admits fan protest ‘made a difference’

Tom Rogic produced a tidy finish to see off the Steelmen but Josip Juranovic reckons the big Aussie is a little Messi.

The playmaker pounced to make sure of another three vital points towards the Premiership push as Motherwell were eventually overcome.

Rogic was the star turn again and could’ve bagged a hat-trick if not for a couple of wayward finishes and some solid goalkeeping from Liam Kelly.

Juranovic wasn’t surprised as he believes the wizard of Oz is Celtic ‘s version of Argentina legend Lionel – even if there’s about a foot in height difference between them.

He said: “Tom’s a bit taller than the original but there’s only one big Messi, he can be the little one!

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“He’s so good. He’s one of the best players I have played with at club level. He’s in top form this season and that can only be good for us.

“We see it in training but I always make sure he’s in my team. He knows how to pick the sides.

“You look at his technique. He’s so tall but it is unbelievable. He’s the main man for us.

“I didn’t know too much about him before I came here. I knew he’d been here a long time but I was wondering why because he was so good. He enjoys it here and he’s a legend.”

Ange Postecoglou was thrilled with his fellow Aussie again as well.

The Hoops boss said: “His contribution was enormous. He’s an important part of our team. It’s not just when he gets on the ball.

“He’s working hard for us as well. That’s a couple of goals now he’s got and he had some great chances.

“It was a bit of a different role for him. Dave Turnbull and Cal McGregor, we wanted them to use that space through the middle and to try and get into more attacking positions. All three of them did. We just didn’t have that final product. They worked the free-kick well.

“That’s been something we’ve been good at this year. We scored one in midweek and there’s a good variety there. It was great to get our reward that way.”

Celtic needed Rogic to make the difference – especially without a recognised striker.

Along with star man Jota, now Kyogo, Albian Ajeti and Giorgos Giakoumakis are all on the injury list.

James Forrest also limped off yesterday but the battered Hoops got the job done with David Turnbull up front and the rest of the attack stepping up.

And Juranovic is convinced the Celtic squad can cope with the big games coming thick and fast.

He said: “We had no striker but it was just a case of keeping the ball and moving forward.

“We have had injury problems but you can see everyone is at Celtic for a reason. Even the guys on the bench, they can come in and do well.

“We saw it in the last game against Betis. We have strength in depth. I ended up playing on the right wing. That was a new one for me.

“Will I end up striker on Wednesday? We’ll have to wait and see!”

Celtic just keep rolling on despite the endless stream of casualties.

Postecoglou’s men have lost just once in 15 games – to Bayer Leverkusen – and have rattled off five league wins on the spin, four of them after Rangers extended their lead at the top.

Celts have managed to respond when under severe pressure and Juranovic insisted that the key to the form is blocking out what’s going on with their rivals.

He said: “What does it say about us? It says we like winning. That’s the main thing here. If we continue to keep our thoughts on ourselves in training and in every game, then we can achieve our goals.

“We played well against Motherwell. We created a lot of chances. We didn’t take them all but we managed to score one and that was the most important thing, to win in front of our fans.”

Ah, the fans. Juranovic couldn’t help but notice there was something not quite right inside Celtic Park again.

The silent protest from the standing section was heard loud and clear by the Hoops players as the campaign to block the appointment of top cop Bernard Higgins in a security job at Parkhead continued.

It’s clearly a burning issue with the support. At one stage a section of the crowd chanted ‘you can stick your silent protest up your a****’.

Juarnovic admitted he doesn’t know enough about the background to play politics but he does know he prefers it when the place is bouncing.

He’s hoping peace can break out sharpish – especially with the Premier Sports Cup Final at Hampden on Sunday.

Juranovic added: “When we came in we were speaking about it and how we never really heard them singing.

“We were joking we should join the protest and sit on the pitch and drink coffee!

“It made a difference. When the fans sing it is the main thing here.”

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