BRENDAN RODGERS is positive there are big things ahead for Adam Idah at Celtic.
And the Hoops boss was quick to shoot down criticism of the 22-year-old Republic of Ireland international striker being “a last-minute” choice to join the champions.
Powerhouse frontman Idah sealed his short-term loan switch from Norwich City to Parkhead on deadline day, but Rodgers insists it wasn’t a late deal just for the sheer sake of bringing in another forward.
The 51-year-old gaffer had no hesitation in throwing on the strapping 6ft-plus attacker before the hour mark with the visitors trailing to a Bojan Miovski goal at Pittodrie at the weekend. Within minutes, the new Bhoy had combined with Nicolas Kuhn, another January recruit, to conjure up the equaliser against Aberdeen.
Unfortunately, the scoring ended there for the Hoops on a day they dropped two points in their quest for a twelfth championship in 13 years.

WELCOME TO SCOTLAND…Adam Idah is on the receiving end of a crunching tackle from Aberdeen’s Connor Barron as he makes his first Celtic appearance in the 1-1 draw at Pittodrie.

That stalemate sees Rodgers’ team locked at the Premiership pinnacle on 58 points with Philippe Clements’ side edging the Dons 2-1 at Ibrox last night.

The Hoops have a one-strike advantage in goal difference as they prepare for tonight’s encounter with Hibs at Easter Road where a win is an absolute must.

Quizzed if Idah is ready to make his first start in Edinburgh, Rodgers unhesitatingly answered: “Oh yes, there’s no doubt. The thing is he’s got 20-odd games behind him this season before coming to us.

“So he’s game-ready and fit and ready to play.

“If I can unlock the talent he has then this is a boy that can be a top-level striker. He’s not just a boy where, even if you max out everything, he can only get to a certain level. This is everything – this is 6ft 2in, power, speed.

“So, once he finds the relationships with the other players and the runs – and we’ll play to his strengths because he wants to run in behind – then he’s going to be a real handful.

“Then working with him on the training pitch and seeing his finishing yesterday – left foot, right foot, spin, strike – he was absolutely brilliant.

TOWER OF STRENGTH…Adam Idah is ready for big things at Celtic. 

“Last time, when I was here, we had the beginnings of what was going to be a great combination between Moussa Dembele and Odsonne Edouard.

“It was all set and it was really exciting, but then obviously we lost one. But there’s a chance for us to do that over the coming months to give us that threat and that quality while still maintaining the structure we want to play with.”

Some Celtic fans were less than enchanted with the arrival of a player from an English second-tier team who wasn’t getting regular first-team starts at Carrow Road. They had hoped for a big-name capture to challenge and offer support to Kyogo Furuhashi at the sharp end of the attack.

Rodgers, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “I’ve had that with a number of players. I remember taking Wayne Routledge to Swansea and it was something not too dissimilar.

“I had seen him as a young player coming through the academy as a 19-year-old at Crystal Palace. He was a brilliant player, but when Crystal Palace got relegated from the Premier League he went to Tottenham and then had another couple of moves which didn’t quite work out for him.

“We signed him from Newcastle on the basis of what I knew he could do. He had maybe just got lost for a little moment in his career. He was maybe broken a little bit.

PARADISE…Adam Idah is welcomed to Celtic in his deadline-day loan switch from Norwich City.

“So, could we piece him together again and give him confidence? He was absolutely brilliant for Swansea.

“Now I see this guy here and he’s got everything. But there is clearly something that’s not gone quite right.

“He’s had a few injuries and sometimes the young guy coming through at his own club doesn’t get the chance to stay in the team, especially when you’re down at the bottom of the league and you need experience.

“But he’s come through that – he’s played over 100-odd games and has 25 international caps and sometimes now, by moving away, it can make him feel like he is now ready to perform.”

Rodgers added: “Whether he stays here for four months or four years, this period will open his eyes to proper football. It will teach him how to come here, be a winner and improve your game.

“He wasn’t a ‘last-minute’ choice. It was about availability.

“I only wanted to bring in someone who could really excite me and add to this team rather than just a journeyman striker who could come in to be second choice. I’d rather give that opportunity to our young players.

“But, in Adam, we’ve got a genuine player and a big, big talent if we can get him to consistently perform. And I’m excited about that.”

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report and best action images from Hibs v Celtic this evening – only in your champion CQN.


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