Rodgers, somewhat diplomatically, explains Compper’s first team absence

MARVIN COMPPER arrived at Celtic early in the last transfer window – the deal was done before it even opened – and the 32 year old experienced defender, a German international player, was supposed to be the answer to Celtic’s central defensive frailties.

It hasn’t worked out that way though. For a start he got injured in Dubai at Celtic’s winter training camp. While he was sidelined Kristoffer Ajer continued to impress as his first extended run in the side continued. That form would win him his first caps for Norway in the international break and attract the interest of scouts from the Premier League and Bundesliga – ironically where Celtic shopped for the star defender that they were looking for.

It seems thought that the position was destined to be filled by a player already at the club, signed by former manager Ronny Deila.

We wrote at the weekend about the Celtic defenders that may not be at the club next season – do to lack of playing time, contracts coming close to ending and so on – you can read this HERE.

Note what we said about Marvin Compper. With that type of gossip starting to do the rounds, it was always going to have to be something that Brendan Rodgers would have to address, either diplomatically or frankly. He had a go at this yesterday as he discussed the German’s absence from the Celtic team or even bench recently.

“It was difficult for Marvin because he was injured in Dubai during the winter break, which put him out for a while,” Brendan said.

“During that period, young Kris has come into the team and been absolutely outstanding. So, there have been others ahead of Marvin.

“His qualities are pretty clear for us, his experience and his
 way of working with the younger guys in training. Of course, he wants to play as well, but these aren’t fitness games we’re playing.

“I’m certainly not sentimental. We need to pick a team that gets the results. I’ll make a change if I don’t like the way we’re playing.

“It’s always been irrespective of age for me. When I first came in Kris was a midfielder and I thought his best position would be centre-half. Maybe in Norway he could play midfield, but he has big possibilities at centre-half.

“I knew he wasn’t going to get the games there for me at first, so we loaned him to Kilmarnock to 
get that positional 
experience. But it was more so he had to head the ball, because I knew he would be under 
pressure with them.

“That’s important if he’s going to do well in the British game. He did well there, came back to us and looked as if he’d developed as a man. Then it was just about timing and when to put him in.

“He did well in some of the
 Champions League qualifiers but still needed more time to develop. Now he’s in the team with a better understanding of the position.

“He has everything. His potential is huge. He’s 6ft 5in, quick, can play football. He’s a very bright boy as well, he knows there’s still a lot of learning for him. He’s got this great hunger to get better, which I love in players, and he’s not even 20 yet.

“Marvin is a good guy, I like him. Hopefully, in his time here he gets a chance to show his qualities. But that’s only if other players aren’t playing so well.”

Now if you didn’t read that link to our article at the weekend, here’s another chance…HERE.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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