BRENDAN RODGERS insists his Celtic squad to be in “a really strong position” by the time Valencia arrive at Parkhead for the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie on February 14.

The Hoops boss is ready to splash the cash in next month’s transfer window and has already admitted he is looking for two strikers.

Rodgers has seen his champions struggle this season where Hibs became the third team, following Hearts and Kilmarnock, to beat them in the Premiership at the weekend while they have also dropped points in draws against St Mirren, Livingston and Motherwell.

The Irishman saw Moussa Dembele quit only hours from the August deadline cut-off in a switch to Lyon while Stuart Armstrong had earlier left for Southampton. The joint fee for the key players totalled around £27million.

Rodgers is optimistic Celtic will have added considerably to their playing resources by February and said: “By the time that period comes around, we will have had the mid-season break which will be so important.

“Along with that, hopefully, players will have returned from injuries by then and we will have added to the squad.

“I do not think the Hibs result reaffirmed anything that we did not already know,.

MISSING LINK…Stuart Armstrong quit in a £7million summer switch to Southampton. Pic: Geo.

“It is clear in terms of the squad that we don’t have that same strength in depth we have had in the last couple of years.

“In the summer, we lost players late and that did not really allow us the opportunity to strengthen.

“But we are very clear within the club about what it is we want to do. We know we need to strengthen and that is something we will look to do.”

Celtic are preparing for the visit of Motherwell tomorrow night in the first of back-to-back fixtures with Dundee due on Saturday.

Rodgers will then turn his focus on the Boxing Day clash with Aberdeen at Pittodrie and the final game of 2018 against Rangers at Ibrox three days later.

He has been boosted by the news Belgian World Cup defender Dedryck Boyata could be fit to return following his hamstring injury sustained in the 1-0 Betfred League Cup Final win over Derek McInnes’ outfit at the start of the month.

The classy centre-half, who has missed the last four games, has targeted the Dons for his first team return.


About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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