Stuart Armstrong: Celtic contract delay did not affect me

It is rare to find a Celtic player having a public difference of opinion with manager Brendan Rodgers. In discussing his new contract for the first time the other day, Stuart Armstrong provided what effectively amounted to one, '¨though.

Celtic's Stuart Armstrong in action against St Johnstone's Liam Craig. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Two weeks ago, as the protracted negotiations over a new deal for Armstrong passed the six-month mark, Rodgers slammed the player’s agents, blaming them for a situation that had “affected” the midfielder and caused him to exhibit a lack of confidence and nervousness .

The Celtic’s manager’s comments were taken as an explanation for why Armstrong has been a peripheral figure in this campaign, afer being a mainstay in the “invincibles” treble campaign.

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The 25-year-old seemed to dispute that reading of his situation when asked if the contract situation – ended when he agreed new terms till summer 2019 that mean he has only committed himself for a further year to the club – had niggled at him, as Rodgers stated.

“In my head it was clear I was staying so there was no issue with being unsettled,” he said. “It was obviously just everything surrounding it – I just wanted to focus on playing football.”

Armstrong shot down the suggestion that the juiciness of Celtic’s Champions League group draw in pitting them alongside Bayern 
Munich, Paris-Saint Germain and Anderlecht would have confirmed to him he made the right decision in signing the new contract.

“It wasn’t a case of the right decision. It was always my decision to get that contract signed. It just took a bit of a length of time,” he said.

“But now that’s all sorted and everything has settled down, I can focus on playing football and the season ahead.”