Top Line Summary

  • Demanding the very best and it is up to him to deliver that
  • The search for a left-back among other potential targets
  • Quashing the blame culture of the transfer window
  • The success so far of the recruitment team
  • Togetherness and separation
  • Gustaf Lagerbielke's situation explained

Everything that Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers said to the media ahead of the Scottish Premiership match against Aberdeen...

How did you feel about the business you did in the January transfer window?

I was pleased with the two players that we have brought in. I mentioned before the improvement in the level of quality coming in and the two guys will certainly give us that over the short, medium and longer term.

You mention quality a lot are those two of sufficient quality to bring the team up to another level?

Yes, they are certainly going to support what is here. Again it is about having that strength in depth for us, which I thought was key to building the squad, especially considering the number of players we have had out injured this year. The likes of Adam, I have no doubt about him. When I came across his name, I was excited by him. I'd seen him as a young player when he was playing as a 17-year-old for the under-21s in the Republic of Ireland. Then I saw him up against my teams in the Premier League. Seeing his physicality, pace, power, ability with the ball and he is still very young. He is 22 years of age and he still has so much potential and so much more development left in him. He's got enough experience having played in the Premier League and coming here for four months allows us to take a look at each other. I know he is absolutely excited to be here. From where he is from he knows the importance of Celtic and he wants to come here and make an impact. I am excited by his talent and to see if we can unlock that. If we can he can be absolutely brilliant for us.

Was there more business that you and the club were looking to do and there were suggestions that the club were in the market for a left back?

The club have worked very hard to help and improve the squad. There can be no fingers pointed in that direction. It's just about the level of player we want to bring in and I have said it before if there was another window we could have brought in players that can fill out the squad but that's not what this team needs. This team needs a level of payer that is going to allow the team to progress. If that's not available or the work that we have done couldn't quite that player to the club then that's unfortunately the way it is. I now know where we are at and going forward into the next part of the season I am really positive and excited about the team that we have. It's going to be an exciting four months for us.

Social media isn't everything but there was maybe some discontent among some supporters last night because more business wasn't done across January. What would you say to those supporters that aren't too happy?

Listen, I can understand that. I think supporters here will always demand the very best. That's what Celtic is and I am here to deliver that. If it's not the right player and it doesn't fit right for what we want to do, I've always said it is not about the number of players, it is always about the quality and the level that we want to bring in. If that's not available for us then so be it. As you have seen throughout the game, the market is like that and there is no difference for us. It wasn't through the lack of effort and work from the club. Now we will move on with the group that we have. We are really positive about that. Despite the frustration, I know that there is a lot of growth left in this squad.

READ MORE: The Celtic defensive xG swing that MUST be improved upon

I think from the fan's point of view you seemed unhappy at the summer transfer business. There was a lot of talk about bringing in quality early on and then the January window came and there were various positions identified with left-back being a key one. Fans are very irate at not seeing that position filled. Can you talk us through if there was a failure there? Was there a failure there? Could you not get the quality that you wanted? Were you not happy with what you were offered or needed? Was it too expensive? Could you elaborate on that and maybe help the fans understand the process a bit better?

We had looked at a number of players who didn't quite fit or would maybe not have improved what we already had in certain positions. There were others we felt that could fit and there was a real willingness from the club to do business and bring the players but it was the other club. You need that to work both ways. Players wanted to come here and there were a few that wanted to come but the club wouldn't allow them to come. We have a number of positions that we want to improve and we want to develop that and what I wasn't keen to do was bring in a player to make it fashionable and to have that yellow band across the TV to say we had signed a player. If it is not going to work for us longer term or medium term then I didn't see the point in that.

When you came in during the summer one of the things that attracted you was the scouting system and the transfer system and you were quite impressed by that. How do you measure the success as a manager of the recruitment team? Would you consider these two windows a success?

It is a responsibility of us all as a club. You can't label it solely on the recruitment team. The recruitment team clearly has a job to do like we all have a job to do. This is a collective responsibility. I understood where we were at in the summer coming in. I understand the structure even more now having been here since then. I would go along with the supporters thinking we could be a little braver in terms of bringing in another level of player. That is something that is up to me to try and fix that over the course of my time here. You look at the strategy here at the club and you have to be careful because in some ways it has worked. You bring in players for a minimal fee and they go out and make the club a lot of money. What I want to try and balance in my time here is to be able to still do that because it is an important part of the modern-day game bringing in a player that still had growth left in him but we also want to be brave enough to bring to hang out hat on a player who is a ready-made player and someone that can come in. I fully understand where the supporters are coming from but likewise, that player has to be available. Now we bring in someone like Adam who is a big, big talent. He might be someone in the summertime who will be that type of player but we will get the chance to see that.

Can you clear up what happened with Gustaf Lagerbielke who looked to be on his way out? There were rumours about Cameron Carter-Vickers fitness too and the loan deal seemed to have fallen through at the last minute. Can you expand on that?

We had interest in Gustaf for a few weeks. I was happy for him to go but only when everything in-house was taken care of purely because of the history of our centre-halves from the first half of the season. Cameron, Maik and Stephen have all been injured for significant periods and the last thing I wanted to do was let a player go out until I was sure and safe that those guys were fit enough. I've spoken to Gustaf and I said after the Ross County game that I would make a decision then. Lo and behold Cameron picked up his injury which will keep him out for a few weeks. At that point then I can't let him go out because it is another bit of evidence that I need to be sure that I look after the squad for the second part of the season. It was tough on Gus because he is a good guy and he wanted to go and get minutes and play. First and foremost, I have to look after the club and make sure that the team and squad are ready for the second part of the season. That was the reason why he didn't go.

You mentioned the word bravery about the transfer window. Are you confident that the club will show that in the summer? Or is that a process you are still going through to persuade some people?

It is just time, isn't it? We have got to be really careful as I get a sense of looking for someone to blame. That is not what this club is about. This club is all about being together. The minute there is a separation then it is a difficult club. We can't look to blame anyone. As a manager, I will always demand that we sign the best players possible that we can get. The board's job and the people who look after the club have done that for many years. The club have made a lot of money and have invested money. I think what we are looking to do here is find the balance and get players in who are ready-made alongside players that are developing. That is naturally what we will do. Teams and managers will always want that.

How is Reo Hatate and have you had any information from Japan about his injury?

I think he has done both calves from what I have seen. He is probably going to be out for five to six weeks. That is another part of the season where we have had no luck from an injury perspective to one of our top players. He'll be back with us soon and we'll start the treatment on him and get him back as fit as we can.

Were you in two minds to sanction David Turnbull's move or were they different circumstances?

It goes back to the summer in thinking where David was at in his mindset. He is also in the last year of his contract. I thought it was best for him and us to get out and play. He has done well here and it has not worked out for him the way he would have wanted it to. He goes away and he is a good guy and worked very hard and he will have a chance to have a permanent place to play.

READ MORE: Why Celtic's David Turnbull is a big 'What If?' for the club

What are you expecting from Aberdeen? Something different as they have had a managerial change this week?

Not really. We always prepare for a tough game. I feel for Barry and the situation he was in. He has probably been punished a little because of the early success that he had. Taking them into European football on the back of a great run. That is never easy because of the expectation and the physicality of it all playing weekends and midweek and that has been a challenge for them. I am sad to see him go as he is a good football guy and he will learn from the experience and be able to take that into his next job.

On Cameron is that a similar time scale to Reo?

No, not as long. The medical team are saying probably about three weeks. Iwata is back on the training field but not available to play. Adam has had a lot of minutes and he is game-ready. He will feature if needed.