BRENDAN RODGERS has revealed £4.3million summer recruit Maik Nawrocki is on his way back.

The towering centre-back, who arrived from Legia Warsaw in August around the same time Carl Starfelt was heading for Celta Vigo, made his debut in the 4-2 Premiership opening-day win over Ross County at Parkhead on August 5.

Nawrocki was in place again for the 3-1 victory at Aberdeen the following weekend, but was in some discomfort with a hamstring problem in the 1-0 Viaplay League Cup exit at Kilmarnock a week later.

ON THE BALL…and on the way back. Maik Nawrocki is making good progress after missing the last eight games.

The 22-year-old powerhouse managed to get through the 90 minutes-plus at Rugby Park, but hasn’t been seen since and Rodgers was forced to overlook the defender in his Champions League squad.

However, the Hoops boss was a bit more optimistic when he delivered an update on the fitness of the German-born former Poland Under- 21 international.

Rodgers said: “He’s doing very well and trained over the last week or so.

“We only have Stephen Welsh and Liel Abada, who will hopefully be back in December time.

“Thankfully, that’s starting to ease off and we’re starting to get numbers back in what’s going to be a busy part of the season.

“You always know you will have injuries, I just think at the beginning of the season that aligned with new players coming in and trying to adapt and settle was the challenge.

“The players have come through that really well and things feel stable and we’re excited about things coming forward.”

Mr MOTIVATOR…Brendan Rodgers, backed by the Celtic support, urges on his players.

Rodgers is particularly pleased for the change in fortune for Liam Scales who made his first appearance for the Republic of Ireland senior side five days ago only months after he looked to be heading back to Aberdeen for a second successive season-long loan.

The 50-year-old gaffer, speaking to Celtic TV, continued: “In a matter of weeks, Liam has gone from a player playing and thinking he’s leaving Celtic, to playing regularly in the team, to playing in the Champions League and making his international debut.

“That’s how football can work for you if you stay focused and concentrated and I’m absolutely delighted for him, but now consistency is the name of the game.”

Reflecting on his four months since returning to the champions after a four-and-a-half year absence, Rodgers commented: “I’ve settled in really well and thoroughly enjoyed being back.

“I’ve enjoyed working with the players and it feels like we are at home.

“Steadily as we have gone through the season, the players have become more aware of what I’m asking from them and I’ve been pleased.

“Sometimes when you come into a club, and especially with the team having success before, there’s maybe a feeling there’s going to be a lot of change, but my observations were it didn’t need a lot.

“There were certain tweaks of what I wanted to see and sometimes that can get overthought.”

Rodgers is now preparing for Sunday’s visit to Edinburgh to take on Hearts which will be followed three days later with the Champions League Group E encounter against Atletico Madrid under the lights in the east end of Glasgow.

The Irishman added: “It’s always a difficult place to go to, Tynecastle, but we will relish the game and the atmosphere.

CRUNCH…Liam Scales is challenged by striker Joe Nouble in Celtic’s 3-0 win at Livingston.

“Sadly, there won’t be as many tickets for our supporters, so we will have to go there without our usual support.

“We’ve shown this season that we can go into tough venues and get the results that we need and we want to go there and perform well.”

Looking ahead to the third match in Europe’s elite competition after defeats against Feyenoord and Lazio, Rodgers concluded: “They’re an outstanding team and Diego Simeone has done an outstanding job over many years at Atletico Madrid.

“He’s been there over a decade and been really successful, so we know the challenge and that they are a very good side.

“For us, in our two games, we have been really competitive and we’re not far off from being a good side at this level.

“There were still elements in those games that I was pleased with and we will go into this game and look to give absolutely everything and see if we can learn from the previous two games.”

* BRENDAN RODGERS’ full and EXCLUSIVE interview only available to Celtic TV subscribers here.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author