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.
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.
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.”