NEW BHOY Nat Phillips is hoping Brendan Rodgers throws him at the deep end after agreeing a six-month loan switch from Liverpool.

The centre-back became the EIGHTH signing of the summer when he answered the SOS before the derby at Ibrox on Sunday.

A variety of injuries has robbed the champions of Cameron Carter-Vickers, Maik Nawrocki and Stephen Welsh for up to two months and Rodgers had to act quickly to strengthen the middle of the rearguard.

Phillips, 26, was identified and he could form a new-look central defence alongside Gustaf Lagerbiekle who only arrived at Parkhead in a £3.5million deal from Elfsborg just over two weeks ago.

PARADISE…Nat Phillips feels at home as he is introduced to Celtic Park.

Rodgers has other alternatives in Liam Scales, who played in the scoreless stalemate against St Johnstone last weekend, and versatile Japanese performer Tomoki Iwata.

As the Hoops manager ponders his team selection for the first Glasgow encounter of the campaign, Phillips has made it clear he is raring to go in the green and white hoops.

The 6ft-plus defender said: “When I heard about the interest it was one that got me excited.

“There were a few other options that didn’t quite make me feel the same as this one did, so I was really keen to get it over the line and I’m delighted to be here now.

“I would say that I’m more of a traditional type of defender, one who does the basics well and, ultimately the job of the defender is to keep the ball out of the goal and do that by any means necessary. I would say that, when it comes down to it, I’m someone who’ll put his body on the line for the team.

“I can’t wait to get going, I can’t wait to play in front of the home fans and I’m looking forward to being out there on the pitch.”

HOOP HOOP HOORAY…Nat Phillips proudly holds his new Celtic jersey. Images courtesy Celtic TV.

Phillips revealed his short-term move had the backing of two of his Anfield team-mates, Andy Robertson, who was on the club’s books as a youngster, and Virgil van Dijk.

The former Bolton prospect said: “Robbo is probably just as excited as I am and I think, potentially, a little bit jealous because he loves it here.

“And the same with Virgil. He had a great time here, so I’ve heard nothing but good things.”

Asked about contact with boss Rodgers, Phillips replied: “We’ve had a few conversations since I’ve been here and they’ve gone really well. They’ve just reassured the decision around this whole thing and I’m really excited to get working with him.”

Quizzed about why there had been no hesitation in joining the Hoops, the Englishman, speaking to Celtic TV, answered: “It’s the history of the club.

“It’s such a huge club, the club’s aspirations, the level it competes at, the fact that they’re in the Champions League this year and the mentality of the club – they want to be winners in everything they do.

”Obviously, I’ve seen Celtic compete in the competition over the years, but hearing the stories of the Champions League nights here, I’m really excited to see how they look.”

And play his part, too.

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