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Rodgers is delighted by the emergence of new midfield source

Brendan Rodgers has paid tribute to Paulo Bernardo even though his scoring run came to a halt in the storms of Paisley last night.

The Portuguese u-21 internationalist started his fourth successive match with Celtic winning all four matches to go into the winter break on a high.

Two injuries to Reo Hatate caused a lot of disruption to the Celtic midfield with Tomoki Iwata, David Turnbull and Odin Thiago Holm failing to make the necessary impression when given game time.

The best compliment for Bernardo is that he as looked the equal of Callum McGregor and Matt O’Riley in recent appearances with that established duo showing improved form despite the glut of fixtures that they’ve been involved in.

As a loan signing Bernardo has high standards to live upto with Jota and Cameron Carter-Vickers the benchmark, Hatate’s Asian Cup call up gives Bernardo additional fixtures to push his case for a permanent move in the summer.

Covering yesterday’s post match media conference with Rodgers, The Celtic Way reports:

How happy are you with Bernardo’s development?

It is all patience. Sometimes at big clubs, there is no patience with young players. You can see him growing and developing. When you have young players that is what tends to happen if their attitude is right and their mentality is right. He has come in in these last few games and created goals and scored goals and he has put his foot in too. He is tenacious. Absolutely delighted for him. It is now about consistency. 

Callum McGregor and Matt O’Riley either side of him, are they perfect players to link with?

Yeah. In all the teams I’ve ever had it’s the combination of the three, it’s never just the one. The three are so important, and whether he is in there with Reo Hatate or Matt or Callum, it’s the combination of the three. But he’s a great learner, he’s a different type of player, maybe not as dynamic as Hatate, but he’s functional and he learns. He knows the runs, he knows the pressing triggers, and he’s developing and improving.

It is a little ironic that a loan signing is now showing up more impressively than most of the permanent deals committed during the summer but all that really matters is that Bernardo is making a positive contribution in what looks like a tight race for the title.

Injuries to key players like Hatate, Liel Abada and Carter-Vickers have hampered consistency and form at Celtic but the signs are that a stronger squad will emerge later this month for the resumption of the SPFL title race.

CLICK HERE for Sutton’s reaction to Kyogo development.


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