Patrick Roberts ‘should aim to be next Lionel Messi’

Celtic's Patrick Roberts celebrates his first of two goals against Hearts. Picture: SNS

Celtic's Patrick Roberts celebrates his first of two goals against Hearts. Picture: SNS

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John Collins has urged Patrick Roberts to aim for Lionel Messi standards at Celtic.

In only his second start for Ronny Deila’s side since arriving on an 18-month loan deal from Manchester City at the end of January, the 19-year-old grabbed a double in the 3-1 home Ladbrokes Premiership win over Hearts on Saturday.

It was the first senior goals scored by the former Fulham player, whose move to City last summer was for a reported fee of £11million.

His first counter at 1-1, a little dink over Neil Alexander, was described by former Hoops manager Neil Lennon, in his role as television pundit, as “absolute top class, Messi-esque,” and his drive after the break gave the Jambos keeper no chance.

Ahead of the trip to Dundee on Tuesday night, where the Parkhead men can go back seven points clear of Aberdeen at the top of the table, the Hoops assistant manager was loath to make direct comparisons with the Barcelona superstar but insists Roberts should be striving to make the same contribution as Messi.

He said: “I don’t like comparing him to the best player in the world, which in my opinion is Messi.

“But you can see where people get the resemblances.

“He is left-footed. He likes to take people on and if he ends up half as good as Messi then he has done well.

“That has got to be his target, to try to emulate what Lionel Messi does week-in, week-out, which is score goals, create chances.

“He is one of those players who gets you on the edge of your seat.

“When he gets the ball the first thing in his mind is can he take on a defender.

“He is a type of player I like watching. At the end of the day you have to have an end product and at the weekend he had what we are looking for from wide players, beating players and getting shots on target and finishing off with goals.

“The most important thing is continual progress.

“He has to produce week in week out, that’s what top players do.”

The former Celtic and Scotland midfielder is looking for the league leaders to find their top form in the run-in.

He said: “We want to play better and better. Can we keep improving? Can we score more goals? Can we keep clean sheets.

“Football is about winning and entertaining.

“Fans love to see goals, they love to see wingers running with the ball, creating chances.

“There is more to come from us, we can all play better I believe.”

Collins confirmed Derk Boeriggter had been paid up by the club on a contract set to expire in the summer.

The 29-year-old winger was signed from Ajax in July 2013, for a reported fee of £3million but had not made a first team appearance since August, 2014.

The former Hibernian boss insists the Dutchman was given his chance at Celtic.

He said: “We try to keep everyone involved and everyone gets an opportunity and when you get an opportunity you have to take it, that’s football the world over.

“We wish him all the best for the future.

“Sometimes it doesn’t work out and unfortunately for Derk and for us it never worked out for him.”

READ MORE - Rumour Mill: Liverpool eye ‘£10m Tierney’ | Boerrigter exits Celtic | Dons ‘still fighting for title’

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