Brendan Rodgers lifts lid on Celtic transfer state of play - goalkeeper latest, Adam Idah situation, interest in striker

What the Celtic manager said after the 1-1 draw with Ayr United

Brendan Rodgers has urged patience after he watched Celtic start their pre-season schedule with a 1-1 draw against Ayr United at Somerset Park.

Although it was an unfamiliar looking Celtic side, this was not because of new signings. Rodgers took the opportunity to field several youngsters and made ten substitutions at half time. The manager made 12 in total.

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Rodgers was forced into a change before the interval when injury-jinxed defender Maik Nawrocki was forced off after 17 minutes. The Polish defender was only able to make 14 appearances last season.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers spoke after the 1-1 draw with Ayr United at Somerset Park. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers spoke after the 1-1 draw with Ayr United at Somerset Park. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers spoke after the 1-1 draw with Ayr United at Somerset Park. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

“He felt a little something in his calf so we'll just have to see what that is tomorrow,” said Rodgers.

The manager also revealed that Gustaf Lagerbielke had a knock and so was not considered while Liam Scales and Matt O’Riley will come back in for the midweek game against Queen’s Park.

“Liam is just back,” he said. “He was on international duty so he'll come into the fold for the game next week. Gus had a twist on his ankle and knee in training so he's probably going to be a week out. Matt O’Riley is back in, a few of the other guys have started to drip feed in, so they’ll come into the game for next Wednesday.”

The manager expressed his hope that there will be new signings in place before Celtic head to the States on tour later this month. “That's the plan,” he said. “I think every manager would like them in on the first day but what's most important is the players we want are targeted. We know what we want to bring in to improve the squad and I'm sure over the coming weeks we'll conclude the deals and get us stronger for next season.”

He asked the fans for patience and will feel he deserves to be trusted after winning round the supporters again last season as Celtic warded off Rangers to secure the double.

“We could have had nine players in by now if we wanted but it's all about the right players that we want to improve the squad,” he said. “There's no point in us doing anything other than that, and sometimes that takes a little bit of patience. In the world nowadays, where everything's immediate, everyone thinks you can do it straight away but it's not always the case. There's always a collaboration between ourselves and another club to get the players that we want but I'm very hopeful that come the end of the window, we'll have a really strong squad and be ready and prepared for an exciting season.”

Negotiations are continuing with Norwich City in an attempt to bring Adam Idah back to the club on a permanent basis following his successful loan spell last season. “Adam's a Norwich player so I'm not in the mood to be talking about other players at other clubs,” Rodgers said. “But he's a player that came in here, did exceptionally well, and we'll see what happens.

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“As soon as any players come in, you guys will be the first to know about it. Until then, there's just a lot of work going on behind the scenes. There’s lots of time. Of course, we would want to get them in sooner rather than later. But it's always a two-way thing, so hopefully we can get them done in the coming weeks.”

One of the most pressing issues is that of goalkeeper. Celtic utilised three against Ayr United but none of the trio - Scott Bain, Tobi Oluwayemi and Josh Clarke - will likely start against Kilmarnock on August 4 when the champions kick off their title defence. With Joe Hart having retired, Rodgers needs another experienced ‘keeper. Work is ongoing in that department too.

“Yes, it is one of the areas we have needed to improve,” said Rodgers. “And we have known that since Joe said he was leaving. So yes, that again will take a bit of time. But we hope to have that done by the beginning of the season for sure.”

He was asked specifically about links with Kasper Schmeichel, whose interest in Euro 2024 has just ended with Denmark. He spent last season at Anderlecht but worked with Rodgers at Leicester City.

“There are loads of names flying about so a good one would be nice!” he said. “Kasper is a very good one and I know Kasper really well, but there are lots of names and clearly I am not going to tell you who those names are.”

Meanwhile, Rodgers confirmed that Oh Hyeon-Gyu is the subject of interest from elsewhere, with Belgian club Genk linked with the 23-year-old forward. “There's some interest in Oh so we'll assess that as a club and then just manage that,” he said. “But you see from tonight, his attitude is great. He had a good 45 minutes, worked well, worked hard. Let's see what the coming days bring on that one.”

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