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Brendan Rodgers opens up on defender dilemma

Brendan Rodgers has still to decided whether or not to keep Liam Scales.

Last season the defender went out on loan in June, joining Aberdeen in time for pre-season training ahead of a turbulent season under Jim Goodwin and Barry Robson.

This year Scales played a significant part in Celtic’s four pre-season matches but failed to make the bench for the SPFL opener against Ross County.

With Carl Starfelt sold in midweek Scales or Stephen Welsh should be on the bench at Aberdeen today but with Gustaf Lagerbielke expected to sign from Elsborg the Irishman could soon be back to fourth or fifth choice central defender.

Rodgers has to make Celtic’s interests his priority but is mindful of the player needing to be involved every week as he was last season.

Speaking to The Sun, Rodgers said:

By the end of the window we’ll be in a position where we’ll know where are with the squad. I know where we need to strengthen. Liam has trained really well in pre-season. I’d seen hardly anything of him so I wanted to take the chance to see him.

It’s all about timing, going out to play. There’s obviously benefits to staying here and working with an intense group. Ultimately, it’s about game time as well for players.

Liam turned 25 the other day and he will have the mindset I’m sure at that age of wanting to play. But his attitude has been first-class and he has qualities as a player. We’ll just assess where it’s at over the coming weeks.

Signing Lagerbielke would give Rodgers three first choice central defenders with one more needed to keep the club covered until January with Tomoki Iwata available as a last resort if three central defenders are missing.

Scales has an advantage being the only naturally left sided central defender but Welsh having come through the ranks fills one of the four club developed slots required by UEFA with Callum McGregor, Tony Ralston and James Forrest the others.

With Carter-Vickers two matches into his recovery after being out for three months Rodgers will be exctra cautious in how he handles his defenders.

After today’s clash at Pittodrie there are just two matches to be played before the transfer window closes with Celtic big on numbers but short on quality options in a couple of positions.

As many as eight players could move elsewhere without being noticed such as Albian Ajeti, Ismaila Soro, James McCarthy and Yuki Kobayashi.

Bringing in quality is equally difficult but a striker and left winger look like priorities while many fans would like to see a first choice goalkeeper come in to challenge/replace Joe Hart.

With Oh Hyeon-gyu out for four to six weeks and Jota sold Daizen Maeda is doubling up as the only left winger and also as back up striker.

Getting another striker signed opens up options to play two in attack- while there is always the prospect of a serious bid coming in for Reo Hatate or Liel Abada.



Celtic’s deal to sign Gustaf Lagerbielke isn’t quite as cut and dried as it appeared on Friday night.

Anel Advic of Expressen broke the news on Monday that Celtic were in advanced talks with Elfsborg over a £3m move for the defender.

On Friday night Advic followed up by tweeting that terms had been agreed between the clubs with Lagerbielke travelling to Scotland next week to undergo a medical.

That time delay seemed a little odd, if terms were all agreed you’d expect the player to be on the next available flight to undergo a medical to get the deal over the line.

Elfsborg play Hammarby at lunchtime today, at 5.10pm on Saturday Boras Tidning reported that Lagerbielke is included in Elfsborg’s plans for the match.

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