SCOTT SINCLAIR played a massive role in convincing Aston Villa they should sell him to Celtic in the £3.5million deal that saw him fire in the winner against Hearts yesterday.
A delighted Brendan Rodgers has revealed the part the new Bhoy played in landing his dream move to the five-in-a-row champions.
The duo worked together at Chelsea and Swansea and although the Hoops boss had to wait patiently for six weeks before signing him, the Irishman believes Sinclair’s determination to be reunited with his mentor finally clinched the deal over a dramatic weekend.
Rodgers said: “Aston Villa didn’t really want to lose the player, but Scott made it clear he wanted to leave.
“Roberto di Matteo’s situation, I respect and understand. He has a player that wants to move, but also a player he knows could go a long way to getting out of the Championship.
“So, that takes time, but, thankfully, Scott was very clear he wanted to come here, come in and enjoy his football again.
“Thankfully, we got him for reasons like Tynecastle when you see he is such an important player.
“It was an outstanding goal. You track the speed of his run and, once he’s breaking away, it’s that hunger and desire that you see from really good players to want to get up and join in.
“His pace to get up there from being so far behind. Leigh Griffiths has done great and then like great strikers, he knows where he wants to put the ball. Scotty has just checked his stride and got a great finish on it.
“He couldn’t have asked for any more considering he’d had just three hours sleep on Friday night to travel up and had a long day on Saturday.
“It was a great start for him in front of our supporters, as well.
”He can play in a couple of positions. I think his home is on that left side. He’s not an out-and-out winger.
“Scott likes to be on the inside at times. He’ll run and be direct, he wants to get goals. He scored 27 goals for me in the Championship for Swansea and he wants to get in there and score goals in the Premiership.
“His natural habitat is off that left side, coming, joining in the game and getting in the box to score goals.
“Scott has always been about enjoying his football – but the last four years have been really difficult.
i”I had him when he was 16 at Chelsea. He played in a really good youth team I had there.
“He went out on loan to a couple of clubs and then I brought him to Swansea where he was outstanding.
“That got him a move to Manchester City. From there really his career stalled. So, no-one has really seen the best of him and probably forgot about his qualities.
“But this was a guy who five years ago was scoring a hat-trick in a play-off final under big pressure in front of 90,000 fans at Wembley. .
“He has a big talent. He is still young, 27 years of age, physically strong, robust, can play in big games and loves the big occasion and has a lot to learn still.
“So, I think he will be really big for us. He knows he had to get his career going again, because it stalled a little bit. At Aston Villa, he always seemed to play full-back.
“I always felt with Scott you had to get him 50 metres higher up the pitch to help teams and, hopefully, he can re-create that here at Celtic.”