Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has defended his decision not to start Scott Brown in Saturday’s win against Kilmarnock.

The Hoops comfortably won the game 5-1 and returned to the top of the Scottish Premiership table, but did so without skipper Brown, who was fit to start and was named on the bench.

Callum McGregor played in the deeper role, while the duo of Tom Rogic and Ryan Christie played in the attacking midfield roles as the Hoops ran riot against Steven Clarke’s side.

Christie did well to become a key part of the team in Brown’s absence due to injury, and has managed to keep up his good form to retain his place in the side.

Rodgers has insisted that the midfield trio are performing well together and there is no reason for him to change it.

“I have compassion for players, especially for ones who done amazingly for me, but what I don’t have is sentimentality”, Rodgers told Celtic’s official website.

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“It’s very clear for me that if a team’s playing well, that’s where it’s at.

“We don’t rely on just 11 players, we need more than that.

“It’s clear for me the level and fluency of the team was great.

“My job is to pick a team that can win games and win titles.

“Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie, along with Tom Rogic, have been exceptional, not just in their football but how they press the game."

Celtic will next take on Red Bull Salzburg in the Europa League on Thursday and need a draw to progress into the next round of the competition.

It remains to be seen if Brown will start.