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‘ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL,’ EX-BOSS’ ADVICE TO CELTIC

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BRENDAN RODGERS insists it is vitally important that Celtic appoint a director of football to work alongside incoming chief executive Dominic McKay.

The former Hoops boss claims it is imperative to get the right man during the backroom shake-up with Peter Lawwell retiring from the top post in June after being in charge for 18 years.

There will be an upheaval of playing staff as the faltering champions hit the reset button, but Rodgers stressed the value of someone who can work between the boardroom and dressing room.

The Irishman, who won seven successive domestic trophies in his two-and-a-half years at Parkhead, said: “At the highest level, in particular, it’s a role which is very important. I think in the modern game, it’s absolutely critical to have that.

“Obviously, the manager has to be able to bring in players he wants because he’s accountable for what happens on the pitch. I’m pretty sure that’s something Celtic may be looking at.”

Celtic’s recruitment in the summer has been heavily criticised with £5million striker Albian Ajeti, £4.5million keeper Vasilis Barkas and £2million loan centre-back Shane Duffy have failed to convince since their arrival.

The purchases have undoubtedly hindered the club’s progress with their failure to hit the ground running. Ironically, none of the trio was chosen to play in Neil Lennon’s final game, the 1-0 collapse against Ross County at Dingwall on Sunday night.

Rodgers also backed assistant boss John Kennedy to be a “great pair of hands” as he fills in following his successor’s exit.

The Leicester City gaffer, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “I’m always saddened when a manager loses his job, but, in particular, when it’s someone I can call a friend.

“It’s tough for him, but when it all settles down, Neil is an incredible legend at the club. He’s won so many titles. His legacy there will be intact forever.

“I didn’t know John when I went there, but when I met with him for the first time his knowledge of the game was clear to see.

“In my time there he was an absolutely brilliant first-team coach. He’s very loyal, very hard working and always very supportive. “He knows the demands of Celtic. He’s a great pair of hands just to stabilise the club.”

Kennedy and Gavin Strachan will be joined in the dug-out by reserve team coach Stephen McManus for the visit of Aberdeen on Saturday.

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