“The most underrated players I’ve ever known,” Rodgers

SCOTT BROWN will be ready for Tuesday’s vital Champions League Qualifier in Armenia against Alashkert, despite suffering an injury scare in Dublin yesterday.

The Skipper, who went off at half time as a precaution, joins Leigh Griffiths and Marven Compper as injury concerns after coming in for some rough treatment from the hosts in the impressive 7-0 win against Shamrock Rovers yesterday afternoon. Griffiths and Compper didn’t make the trip to Dublin due to slight injury concerns but have not been ruled out of the trip to Armenia at this stage anyway.

“Scott is okay. He had a niggle when we were away in Austria,” Brendan Rodgers said yesterday.

“It flared up a little bit. It was similar to last year when he came off but he should – and hopefully will – be fine for Tuesday.

“It’s a little issue behind his knee. It’s nothing overly serious and it just stiffened up.

“At this point in the season I always say to the players we are here to develop our fitness so not to take any risk with injuries.

“In another game he would probably have played on but there was no point risking it.

“Leigh and Marvin were injured so they didn’t travel to Ireland. Hopefully they will come with us but we will see when we go back.”

The Celtic manager has prepared his squad – or at least the available members of his squad – the World Cup four are still away, with Mikael Lustig’s tourmament ending yesterday meaning he starts his fortnight’s break today and Dedryck Boyata having a World Cup semi-final against France on the same day that Celtic play Alashkert – in the best way possible.

He looked relaxed yesterday and clearly enjoyed taking the troops over to Ireland to play in front of the Celtic supporters who regularly make the trip across the Irish sea to support the team.

“It was a very good exercise for us,” Brendan said.

“We love bringing the team to the supporters here. In terms of what we are looking for at this stage of the season it was the perfect game.

“We played two teams and for the first 65 minutes we were really strong with good pace and movement.

“We defended very aggressively. There are one or two areas we need to develop in terms of the shape we are playing.

“We replaced that team with a younger team that was very dynamic.

“We go into the European game at the best possible level we can be. You look at the players and their running and I’m very pleased,” Rodgers continued.

The Celtic manager singed out Callum McGregor for particular praise. McGregor, Rodgers reckons is perhaps the most under-rated player he has ever worked with, but for the Celtic manager he is a real Celtic star.

“Callum must be one of the most underrated players I’ve ever known with his ability to keep the ball but also to break the lines and score.

“With his first goal you see his speed to get in then the finish. Then there was desire off Moussa’s strike, which might have gone wide, to slide in and get his second goal.

“He is a super player and a talented player who can play in many positions.”

Here is Callum’s post match comments from yesterday.

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 editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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