BRENDAN RODGERS has reassured his Celtic players: “I am going nowhere!”

The Hoops boss held a meeting with his stars to have clear-the-air talks before this evening’s Champions League encounter against AEK Athens in the Olympic Stadium.

Rodgers takes his troops into his toughest-ever qualifier with the tie deadlocked at 1-1 after last week’s confrontation in Glasgow.

In recent days speculation has abounded about the Irishman’s future in the wake of comments following the frustration of failing to land Hibs midfielder John McGinn who switched to Championship outfit Aston Villa last week.

Rodgers acted to clarify his position and admitted: “I spoke to the players just to stabilise them a little bit.

“I think that, despite the noise, it’s important the players understand the real story.

“I never once said that I was quitting Celtic. What I said was we wanted the squad to be stronger.

“So, collectively, in terms of spirit, we’re fine. It’s just something that happens at this stage of the season. Like I say, we know we want to strengthen the squad.

“The bar we have set over the past couple of years, we want to continue that improvement.

“It’s always a difficult period of the season, juggling your league campaign with your Champions League qualification.

“It’s something we have to manage and navigate our way through, whether it’s on or off the park.

“It’s private. I don’t need to go on any more about it. However, it’s always important to stabilise the emotions of players.

“I’ve done that a number of times and what is said at Celtic will always stay within. It’s nothing major.

“Just a stabilising effect that ensures we continue on the same direction.”

* DON’T miss all the action from tonight’s big game in Athens with the best match report in your champion CQN.


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