BRENDAN RODGERS insists he will “fire up the squad again” as he promises to delve into the summer transfer market.

The Celtic manager arrived in June last year just as Filipe Jota and Carl Starfelt were on the brink of moves and Aaron Mooy had just announced his retirement.

Recruits such as Maik Nawrocki, Gustaf Lagerbielke, Odin Holm, Marco Tilio and South Korean duo Yang Hyun-jun and Kwon Hyeok-kyu were already on their way to the treble winners.

Rodgers’ January activity in the market was restricted to the £3million purchase of German winger Nicolas Khun and the loan deal for Republic of Ireland international striker Adam Idah from Championship outfit Norwich City.

TWO FOR THE ROAD…Liel Abada and Filipe Jota display the newly-won Scottish Cup at Hampden on June 3 last year after the 3-1 win over Inverness Caley Thistle.


Liel Abada has just joined the list of departures with his £8million switch to MLS club Charlotte FC while David Turnbull moved in a £2million deal to Cardiff City and midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi made a permanent return to Japan with Vissel Kobe.

Alexandro Bernabei, the £3.75million misfit signed by Ange Postecoglou in the summer of 2022, has signed a temporary transfer with Brazil’s SC Nacional for the remainder of the year and it’s highly unlikely the Argentinian defender will be seen again in Glasgow.

Mikey Johnston (West Brom) and Sead Haksabanovic (Stoke City) are just two of the squad on loan until the end of the season and their situations, among a few others, will be appraised at the conclusion of the current campaign.

Rodgers will also be on the look-out for a new keeper following the news 36-year-old, 75 times-capped England international Joe Hart will be leaving after three years as the team’s established No.1.

Looking ahead, the Irishman admitted: “I’m really excited about next season, having now had a look at this group. I’ve seen players who were out for a while and I want to develop this squad.

ON A WING AND PRAYER…Nicolas Kuhn, January’s £3million recruit from Rapid Vienna.

“There’s a lot of work going on on that front. Is it a chance to put my stamp on it? Yeah, because I think we lost influential players who make the game look different.

“Those players weren’t just good footballers, but they were personalities. It’s hard when you lose that personality from the team.

“The guys have been great this season with everything that’s been thrown at them. But it’s about seeing what it needs, how it can develop and grow.”

Rodgers, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “I had to give guys who were here an opportunity because they’d just come off the back of a treble-winning season.

“But I also know because of my experience in football – especially at clubs like Celtic – that there’s a revolving door every three or four years.

“Even if you’re a winning team, you have to fire up the squad again. That’s something we’ll look at doing in the summer.”

TARGET MAN…Adam Idah slots in his second goal in Celtic 3-1 comeback win over Motherwell at Fir Park last month.

Powerhouse frontman Idah, who has scored five goals since sealing his temporary switch from the Carrow Road club, is an obvious target for recruitment.

Rodgers revealed there is no option to buy in his agreement, but added: “I’m excited to work with him. He thrives on the pressure here and has a hunger to improve.

“So, we’ll assess that at the end of the season. It’s not all in our hands.”

In the meantime, Celtic have a league and Cup double to win with nine Premiership games to play and a date with Livingston in the Scottish Cup quarter-final due at Parkhead with a 2.30pm kick-off today.

*DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v Livingston this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.

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