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£220,000 ROGIC – STEAL OF THE CENTURY

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TOM ROGIC sent a timely reminder at the weekend that he still has a part to play in Celtic history.

The Australian international playmaker set up the goals for Ryan Christie and Mohamed Elyounoussi that downed Aberdeen 2-0 in the Scottish Cup semi-final to set up a silverware showdown with Hearts at Hampden on December 20.

The gifted 27-year-old made sure the Parkhead side edged to within 90 minutes of the phenomenal quadruple treble with a superb performance – and emphasised he must be one of the club’s all-time great bargain buys.

Rogic arrived in Glasgow in 2013 for the princely sum of £220,000 from Central Coast Mariners.

And the Hoops’ former star spotter John Park, speaking to the Scottish Sun, recalled the low-key transfer for the unknown youngster as he joined Neil Lennon’s squad.

He said: “Tom Rogic is an exceptionally talented footballer, but he’s also a lovely boy and it’s given me great pleasure seeing him become a Celtic hero.

“Make no mistake, that’s how he should be regarded when you consider what he’s helped the club achieve.

“I was first made aware of Rogic by a guy called Daniel Berman, a lawyer and agent based in London. This would be late 2012 or early 2013. He was involved in Nike soccer schools and Rogic excelled during his involvement with that set-up.

“It was a priceless recommendation from Daniel and he was fantastic to deal with.

WHAT A SET-UP…Tom Rogic (extreme left) watches as Mohamed Elyounoussi moves onto his lobbed cross.

BY THE RIGHT…Mohamed Elyounoussi finishes off the job to slam in the second against Aberdeen in the 2-0 win.

“The Australian side Central Coast Mariners had Tom, but there was the prospect of a move.

“Berman believed Celtic would be the ideal club for him. I did a bit of homework on him and studied footage of him in action.

“I considered his age, potential, his value of just 400,000 Australian dollars (£220,000) and also compared him with the level of player we had at his age within the Celtic academy.

“We got references and we knew his club manager, Graham Arnold, rated him very highly.

“It soon became clear to me bringing Rogic over was a big opportunity we should take.

“We got a deal done quickly and the rest is history. It’s fair to say he’s proved to be a decent signing.

Park, who left Parkhead in 2016 when Brendan Rodgers arrived and brought in his own backroom squad, added: “What a brilliant servant he’s been for Celtic since 2013.

“People sometimes look at him and think he’s lazy. That he doesn’t run about enough.

“But that’s the job of others. With Rogic, you just want him on the ball. He’s not lazy, it’s just his deceptive playing style. He glides about the pitch, gets into great positions and creates openings out of nothing.

“He can do things with the ball most others in the team can’t. He’s a sublime midfielder, so much quality with each foot.

“Rogic is a proper No. 10. Look back on his Celtic goals, there have been magnificent efforts with both feet.

HOOP HOOP HOORAY…Tom Rogic screams in delight after his last-gasp Scottish Cup winner against the Dons in 2017.

“He’s had a lot of tough injuries throughout his Celtic career. But it says it all about him he has come through them all and achieved so much.

“He’s won the lot with Celtic and is now one of the most-capped players in the current Australia squad.

“His professionalism is second to none. You never see him publicly complain about anything, he never shouts his mouth off, he just gets on with it.

“On Sunday at Hampden, he was magnificent, his neat pass for Ryan Christie’s opener and then a cross hung up perfectly for Mohamed Elyounoussi to score.

“I’m delighted to see Rogic back fit again and playing his part for Celtic. He’s only 27 and can achieve much more.”

Rogic was on the brink of leaving Scotland’s title kings in the summer when he was linked with a lucrative move to Qatar, but he rejected the switch and decided to remain at Celtic.

He lasted 84 minutes of a gruelling Cup semi-final at rain-lashed Hampden on Sunday to once again prove he is close to gaining peak fitness.

At £220,000, he is up there with Henrik Larsson – £650,000 from Feyenoord – as one of the club’s shrewdest pieces of business in the transfer market.

 
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