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Celtic boss Rodgers not hopeful of McGinn deal

By July 12, 2018No Comments

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers admits a deal for John McGinn will be difficult, but refused to rule out a third bid for the Hibernian midfielder.

Hibs head coach Neil Lennon confirmed on Wednesday that his club had rejected a second Celtic offer for the Scotland international, who has entered the final year of his contract.

When asked if he could foresee another offer going in, Rodgers said: “I am distant from that, so time will tell.

“That’s something for the clubs to organise. I coach the team, I manage the team. We target players but ultimately any agreements have to be between the two clubs.

“We respect John’s still very much a Hibs player and unless there’s an agreement…like I say, it’s going to be a difficult one. That’s really between the clubs.”

Rodgers is on the lookout for a midfielder following Stuart Armstrong’s departure to Southampton for a reported £7million. But St Mirren are due a third of any fee Hibs receive in the terms of the deal that saw the 23-year-old move to Easter Road three years ago.

Rodgers added: “From a business point of view, Celtic have always had a way of working, and that’s something I am sure they will continue to do.

“John’s a very talented player, but he is a Hibs player and Hibs have every right to decide what their valuation on him is, like we had with Stuart Armstrong.

“But I tend not to be involved in negotiations. Like I say, my job is to coach and manage the team, and hopefully improve players.”

Rodgers is preparing for the second leg of his side’s Champions League qualifier against Alashkert after an impressive 3-0 win in Armenia on Tuesday.

Rodgers hailed the fitness of his side after late goals from James Forrest and Callum McGregor put them firmly in control against a side in the middle of their season.

“In all the physical tests since we came back, probably the player who ranked at the bottom of our measures would have been at the top when I first came in,” said Rodgers, who is beginning his third season in charge.

“So we have created a culture and environment that is about demanding you are the best you can be every single day.

“The players have come back in really, really good condition, so for me and the team and the staff, it’s great to know because we can add to that.

“It’s a long season for us so we need that physicality in our team. But that mental fitness is important as well as the physical fitness, and something that the players are gaining day by day.”

Celtic continue their pre-season campaign with a home friendly against Standard Liege on Saturday when Rodgers will play different teams in each half.

Marvin Compper could feature after recovering from the injury that saw him miss the trip to Yerevan but Leigh Griffiths and Jonny Hayes face a further two to three weeks out with thigh strains.