BRENDAN RODGERS hinted for the first time last night that the Stuart Armstrong contract stand-off could end with the player leaving the Six in a Row Champions.
Previously the Celtic boss has always been positive about Armstrong staying at Parkhead but his patience seems to be running thin as he told BT Sport after the hard fought 1-0 win away to Patrick Thistle that the player’s confidence has now been affected by the contract situation and that the matter needs to be resolved one way or another.
Armstrong struggled to make an impact at Celtic under Ronny Deila but was transformed by the arrival of Rodgers and had a superb season as Celtic secured a domestic treble and completed the season undefeated against every side they played from Great Britain.
The ex-Dundee United man broke into the Scotland starting eleven and made an immediate impact but a loose pass late in the game against England in his second match for his country broke Scottish hearts as it allowed Harry Kane to grab a final seconds equalizer after high Griffiths’ double put Scotland on course for an historic victory.
Armstrong has been rumoured to have had interest from clubs in the Premier League, with Southampton mentioned as being poised to make a £3million offer for the player. However no bids have been received by Celtic for the player.
This rumoured bid would seem to be way below Celtic’s valuation of the midfielder who they bought from the Tannadice club for £2miliion at the start of 2015.
Rodgers believes that the midfielder would develop further under his guidance and would benefit from gaining further Champions League experience before looking for a move down South.
The player, who has always had ambitions of playing in England, is entering the final year of his contract but is unlikely to be sold on the cheap by the Champions.
Armstrong was in the starting line-up for the midweek 5-0 victory over Kilmarnock at Celtic Park and played very well in the young team selected by Rodgers. He also scored in that match.
However he has started from the bench in both league matches, the 4-1 win over Hearts last weekend and last night’s win at Firhill, where he looked out of sorts when brought on late in the game.
Now Rodgers has had enough of playing the waiting game so expect developments in the next week or so.
The Celtic supporters, with their wonderfully creative song for Armstrong, were in full voice singing about his hair and him scoring “belters” last night so clearly the support are still hoping that he stays.
Online though the mood is changing and many fans are losing patience with the player who one said “was heading to a club like Aberdeen before Brendan Rodgers arrived.”
He just may well have a point.
“It needs to be resolved one way or the other.”
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers says Stuart Armstrong has been affected by a contract dispute. pic.twitter.com/4bWaqvtvGU
— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) August 11, 2017
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