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‘LAWWELL DESERVES PRAISE,’ SAYS HOOPS LEGEND

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CELTIC legend Davie Hay believes Hoops chairman Peter Lawwell deserves praise for inspiring Brendan Rodgers’ commitment to the club.

The former player and manager, who is now a club ambassador, said: “The fact he (Rodgers) has signed a new four-year deal simply contributes to the feelgood factor around the club.

“But amongst it all, I think that you have to point out that a fair bit of credit has to go to Peter Lawwell.

“Just as Brendan is a guy other clubs might look at, given the job he is doing, so, too, will Peter’s efforts not have gone unnoticed elsewhere, either.

“He has been an integral part of the success of Celtic and you would have to say that the Parkhead side are easily one of the best-run clubs not just in Scotland, but in Britain.

“The fact that affairs have been managed so meticulously off the park has enabled the foundations to be set for the team to do so well on it.”

Hay added: “Celtic have backed the manager and they have got their rewards for it this season.

“The one thing that you would have to say is that the club have been run sensibly.

“It has put them where they are now and they are in the position where they are ready to step it up and look to move to the next level.

“We all know that Scottish football operates at a financial disadvantage due to the disparity in television revenues that condense the real money into the top leagues in Europe.

“The next step now is to ensure that group participation is there every season – something that is a monumental challenge in itself given the arduous nature of the qualification process.

“After that, some of it essentially comes down to a bit of luck in terms of the calibre of teams that you are up against.

“For me, the next step now is to make Europa League football after Christmas, ensuring that there is still European involvement into the latter stages of the season.

“I am sure that there will be money available to go and bring in the two or three quality players – another striker, a quality midfielder and possibly another centre-half – that will push Celtic on that little bit this summer.”

* Davie Hay was talking in his column in the Evening Times.

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