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‘NO-BRAINER’ TO JOIN HOOPS

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CELTIC’S American recruit Andrew Gutman has revealed it was “a no-brainer” to chose the Hoops ahead of Rangers.

The 22-year-old defender had a trail at Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox outfit in December, but decided to join the champions the following month.

Both clubs wanted the full-back to pen a deal, but Gutman had no second thoughts about agreeing a contract with the Parkhead men.

Speaking to local media ASN, he said: “Celtic is just a fantastic club and it has such a history in the biggest stages – the Champions League.

“I just decided in terms of my development and where I want to be with my goals that Celtic was the best path for me.

“I had to think about what I wanted long-term in my career and I think Celtic was the best situation for me. When a club like that comes calling, you really have to consider it.

“So it was kind of a no-brainer.”

ON THE MOVE…Emilio Izaguirre is out of contract in the summer.

Gutman joined former Celtic performance coach Jim McGuinness at Charlotte Independence, on a year’s loan to help circumvent work permit issues.

The fact McGuinness is a former Celt, also helped to make certain the player had made the right move.

He added: “I had work permit issues and I was able to come back to America and get a loan to Charlotte under Jim McGuinness who coached at Celtic for seven years.

“For me, it was an ideal situation. I had to go away from Celtic for a bit, but, at the same time, I still feel a part of it because the coach knows the Celtic way.

“I still feel like I am a part of Celtic and I can work to try to make it back to the first team there.”

Gutman will add to the Hoops squad when he returns with the squad short of defensive cover with several players on the move at the end of the campaign.

Mikael Lustig is out of contract and, although Neil Lennon has indicated he would like the 32-year-old right-back to remain in Glasgow, Swedish sides AIK Stockholm and Malmo are monitoring the situation.

Costa Rican Cristian Gamboa and Honduran Emilio Izaguirre are also coming to the end of their deal while Jeremy Toljan will return to Borussia Dortmund and Filip Benkovic to Leicester City when their loan periods expire.

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