fbpx Skip to main content

Brendan Rodgers will not “beg” players to come to Celtic as he looks to streamline his squad while adding quality.

The Hoops boss will use the next two transfer windows to reach a place where he is happy with his group in terms of numbers and ability.

Speaking after the club’s AGM at Celtic Park, the Parkhead manager acknowledged the challenge of attracting quality players to Scottish football but outlined the huge opportunities of playing for Celtic, who are currently eight points clear of Rangers at the top of the cinch Premiership.

“I don’t want to add to the squad, we have a squad of 32 which we need to bring down as well as bring in quality players,” said Rodgers, who will assess Honduras attacker Luis Palma and Canada full-back Alistair Johnston when they return from international duty on Friday ahead of the cinch Premiership game against Motherwell on Saturday.

“But I am fairly comfortable that over the course of these next few windows that the squad both in terms of numbers and quality will look how I want it to.

“There will, naturally, be players who will want to go out and play, players who want to move on and we have to see if the players that are better than what we have are available to bring in. I can’t give you a number but there is always movement.

“It is always the challenge because lots of players will want to play in a more competitive league or more renowned leagues.

“But what Celtic offers here is really unique in terms of the opportunity to come and play for a fanatical fan base, to come and develop as a player, to become a winner, to live in a great city.

“There have been many players and managers, that once they have been here – and sometimes it is only when you are here – get that real sense of that.

“So we will always work hard but we won’t beg players to come.

“This is an incredible club to play for and if you are lucky enough to be able to come here and work and play you will get the sense of that. So that is something that is ongoing.”

While happy with his side’s domestic form this season, Rodgers believes Celtic’s Champions League position – bottom of Group E with one point from four fixtures ahead of their game against Lazio in Rome next Tuesday night – is not a reflection of their performances.

The former Liverpool and Leicester boss, who returned to Celtic Park for a second spell as boss in the summer following the departure of Ange Postecoglou to Tottenham, said: “From the Champions League perspective, I think there is a narrative around, I sense a little bit, the overall start.

“I think the players have been fantastic. If you take away the second half against Atletico Madrid, the players have been very good, the players have been excellent and getting better each performance.

“Very co-ordinated, you see the spirit in the team and in the other games we have been really competitive, even against Feyenoord with nine men.

“So I understand where we are at, it is a level where you have to have quality and experience, but experience also comes from gaining experience.

“But there is no doubt we have to be stronger going forward over the following seasons here, that was one of the big drivers to come back.”