LIAM SCALES is on course to land Brendan Rodgers with a £7.3million problem.
The £600,000 recruit from Shamrock Rovers in August 2021 has forced in his way into the Celtic first team with some gutsy performances since he answered the club’s SOS following an injury pile-up only four games into the new season.
The Hoops had seen Carl Starfelt depart for Celtic Vigo as they spent £4.3million on Maik Nawrocki from Legia Warsaw and £3million on Gustaf Lagerbielke from Elfsborg. It looked that one of the new Bhoys would be partnering rock-solid Cameron Carter-Vickers at the heart of the team’s rearguard.
Plus there was always Stephen Welsh as back-up. The reports at that time indicated Barry Robson would welcome back Scales for another season on loan at Aberdeen after his success the pervious term at Pittodrie.
However, fate stepped in to open the door to the Republic of Ireland defender when Carter-Vickers, Nawrocki and Welsh were all sidelined with a variety of injuries.
Rodgers brought in Nat Phillips from Liverpool on a short-term contract just before the September 1 transfer deadline.
Scales returned to the backline for the goalless draw with St Johnstone in Glasgow on August 26 and has been an ever-present since that confrontation, racking up eight successive games along the way.
After the 3-1 victory over Kilmarnock yesterday, Rodgers, speaking to BBC Spotscene, admitted: “Liam’s probably one of the biggest surprises of my career as a coach.
“It’s only because I hadn’t seen him play that much and there were other players ahead of him. Through people leaving and others getting injured, I’ve seen enough in training to give him the opportunity.
“Ideally, you always want a left-sided centre back in your team who has good pace and intelligence – and he has all of that. You see the way he plays and is performing and he’s really grown and I’m so happy for him.
“There’s a lot of pressure on the Irish players at this club and he’s been outstanding.”
Rodgers will now have some questions to answer when Nawrocki gets back to full fitness and Lagerbielke settles into his new environment.
It’s a poser the 50-year-old gaffer will relish solving.