Craig Gordon has welcomed Stuart Armstrong’s decision to commit his future to Celtic and believes his team-mate has much more to achieve at the club before he eventually secures a move to the English Premier League.
After months of speculation, Armstrong is set to confirm a new contract with the Scottish champions. The 25-year-old has lost his regular place in the Celtic starting line-up this season with manager Brendan Rodgers claiming the uncertainty over his future had affected his confidence.
But Gordon, who was also the subject of interest from England last season before his own position at Celtic was resolved with a contract extension, has no doubts Armstrong will now recapture the form which made him one of the team’s most influential players last season.
“It is great news Stuart is staying,” said the Celtic goalkeeper. “He brings something a little bit different to the team, he has great energy, he can get around the park and he is a great goal threat with both feet as well. We need him in the team ready to play. Hopefully that will settle things down, he can concentrate and get himself back in the team and show us all what he is capable of. He is a massive part of the team.
“He was looking to get it sorted and these things can sometimes drag on. I know that myself, that this kind of thing can happen. But it is great he has finally decided to stay here. It is a great place to play. When he is in the team and playing well it is a massive boost for the rest of us.
“I spoke to him a few times about it. Last season, there were bids there [for me] and there was a possibility of going to England. Even after that, it took a few months to clear the contract situation up. That is just what happens. That is all I was trying to tell him, it took me a wee while as well, and not to get too upset about it. I just relayed what had happened in my situation, it was quite similar to his. But they do tend to get sorted eventually.”
Armstrong, pictured, only made a late substitute appearance in Celtic’s 5-0 win over Astana on Wednesday night but Gordon has no doubt he will become a key figure in the side again when Rodgers’ side take their now all but inevitable place in the group stage of the Champions League.
“This is a great place for Stuart to keep learning,” added Gordon. “Hopefully he gets another chance to play Champions League if we can go over to Astana next week and get through this play-off round tie.
“He has shown it on every stage so far, whenever he has stepped up. He came from Dundee United to play here and it took him a bit of time to settle in. Once he did he was one of our best players last season. Then he stepped it up to the international level, and he has played Champions League.
“Another few years here doing that – I would think he is already a big target for anyone, whether he signs a new contract or not. If someone comes in with big money, then money talks. But it is good for him to get settled and concentrate on football. If he keeps progressing as he is, then I am sure there will still be plenty of teams looking at him.”