Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers told Rocco Vata he had to continue earning the right to play after the 18-year-old netted his first goal in a 5-0 Scottish Gas Scottish Cup victory over Buckie Thistle.

The winger has been linked with clubs such as Sampdoria, Bologna and Como and his contract expires in the summer, but he was handed his first appearance of the season and tapped home from close range to round off the win.

Rodgers, who also brought 18-year-old debutant Daniel Kelly off the bench, said: “Young players have to earn the right. There’s been a lot of noise around Rocco but any young player has to earn the opportunity. I’ve given many young players opportunities in my career.

“But I like Rocco, he has qualities. He is strong, he’s aggressive, he wants to get goals. When he came on he got his goal and he had other opportunities.

“And Daniel Kelly is a young player I really like. If he keeps progressing and developing he will have a big future. He is left-sided, he is quick and strong, he presses the game very well.

“They get a taste of it and hopefully that gives them the motivation and determination to continue progressing.”

When asked about Vata’s future, Rodgers said: “That will be up to him. He’s a talent.

“It depends what the mentality is with him and his representatives. You get some young players whose representatives will tell you if they are not playing in the first team, starting, they don’t want to stay. You better go then, because you have got to earn the right.

“He is 18, I don’t need players ready at 18 unless they are real, real special talents, but by 20-21 they need to be ready.

“But you can see he has tools and this can be a really good place for him to develop.”

When asked if there was an offer on the table for the teenager, Rodgers said: “I believe so. There’s been chats around that but my focus is purely on the playing aspect. But there will be something there for him, I’m sure.”

Although he gave chances to Vata and 18-year-old Kelly and rested captain Callum McGregor, Rodgers played a strong team and saw his side progress to the fifth round with Paulo Bernardo, Odin Thiago Holm, Kyogo Furuhashi and Luis Palma also on the scoresheet.

Rodgers said: “It was a good day for both clubs. From our perspective, professionally got the job done, played some really good football, scored some good goals, could have had more but the timing was a little bit out.

“And for Buckie Thistle, it’s an amazing day. The players gave everything and the support was there for the team right to the end.”

Celtic also had four goals disallowed and saw a potential penalty for a trip on Liel Abada ruled out because of an offside after a VAR review – sparking memories of a much-discussed penalty appeal for handball from Rangers on their recent defeat at Celtic Park.

Rodgers said: “It’s protocol, according to the fourth official, they have to look to see if it’s a penalty first before they look to disallow it because it’s offside, which just seems ridiculous really.

“If it’s offside then the penalty doesn’t even matter – as we know.”

Meanwhile, any hopes Celtic had of signing Owen Beck this month have ended after the left-back came on in Liverpool’s win at Bournemouth.

The Wales Under-21 international had been linked with Celtic after an impressive loan spell at Dundee but he cannot play for another team this season after featuring for his parent club.

Rocco Vata seized a surprise chance in the Celtic team to score his first goal for the club in a 5-0 victory over Buckie Thistle.

Vata appeared to be on the way out of Celtic amid several links with Serie A clubs but the 18-year-old came off the bench in the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup fourth-round tie amid reports of talks over extending his contract beyond the summer.

The winger hit Celtic’s fifth goal from close range as the holders eased into the fifth round. Odin Thiago Holm also netted his first Celtic goal while Paulo Bernardo, Kyogo Furuhashi and Luis Palma were also on target.

But Thistle’s offside trap helped them keep the score to a respectable level – Celtic had four goals disallowed.

The Highland League side even had a couple of moments at the other end to excite their roughly 3,000 travelling supporters.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers named a strong team with only Callum McGregor rested. The captain was handed an extended winter break, thus ending a run of 59 consecutive starts for the midfielder stretching back to December 2022.

Holm made his fourth start of the season in place of McGregor while Liel Abada returned to the starting line-up for the first time since suffering a thigh injury in September.

Buckie got their first taste of VAR after two minutes when referee Chris Graham was called to his monitor to review what appeared to be a trip on Abada, but an offside was spotted in the build-up.

It would be a regular theme of the game and Buckie had another escape when a close offside decision denied Greg Taylor after the left-back’s cross had gone in off Thistle goalkeeper Stuart Knight.

The breakthrough eventually came in the 25th minute when Bernardo lifted the ball over Knight after taking Matt O’Riley’s pass in his stride.

Furuhashi had a goal disallowed after Abada was ruled offside before crossing, before Holm netted in off the post in the 33rd minute following a one-two with O’Riley.

Liam Scales headed off the bar before the Buckie fans were on their feet after centre-forward Josh Peters was played clean through. Joe Hart saved with his feet and there was a suspicion of offside – no flag was raised and Celtic played on and broke for Furuhashi to convert Abada’s low cross four minutes before the break.

There was still time for another disallowed goal before half-time with Abada again caught out from O’Riley’s pass before squaring for Bernardo to net.

Palma extended the lead in the 50th minute when he cut in from the right and fired a left-footed shot inside the near post from 20 yards.

Abada then shot wide from a simple chance before becoming the latest Celtic player to have a goal disallowed for offside.

Buckie fans dreamed again when a VAR check took place for a potential penalty after Scales grappled with Peters but the game continued.

Vata tapped home in the 76th minute after good wing play from fellow substitute Mikey Johnston.

Rodgers handed a debut to 18-year-old midfielder Daniel Kelly and brought on Stephen Welsh – but seven minutes too late for the defender to face his cousin, Peters, who had gone off for the visitors.

Knight saved well from Palma and Kelly before the Buckie players took the acclaim of their supporters.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is unaware of any concrete interest in Matt O’Riley and believes the midfielder is happy to continue improving in his team.

Reports claim Spanish league leaders Girona are considering making a move for the Denmark international ahead of the transfer deadline.

But the 23-year-old signed a new contract earlier in the season that ties him to Glasgow until 2027 and appears focused on his game.

Rodgers said: “I’m not aware of any (interest). But it’s natural, if you’ve got good players then of course they will attract attention. But I’m not focused on that at all.

“We don’t want to be losing any (of our best players). The plan was to add to the squad and that’s still the plan.

“If a player doesn’t want to be here then my experience is you are better off moving them on. It’s as simple as that.

“Of course the club is in a really strong position with no need to sell and no thoughts of selling.

“Matt is really, really happy here. He signed a new deal, he has really progressed, he is into double figures now in goals, and his assists are there.

“For him as a young player, he is a brilliant professional, all he wants to do is improve and he can see the improvement here. Just take it day by day and assess it from there.”

In terms of incomings, Rodgers was looking for quality rather than quantity this month and believes he has added that in former Ajax and Bayern Munich reserve winger Nicolas Kuhn.

“There’s a lot of work going on and hopefully before the window shuts, we can improve the squad,” he said.

“It normally goes right through to the end. I am quite relaxed on it. I know what we need to improve but unless it’s the right type of quality and player then we won’t be in a rush to do anything.

“And likewise if something comes in too late that doesn’t suit the squad and how strong we are then we won’t need to do anything.

“If it was just about numbers we could have had people in on January 1, but it’s not. It’s about getting quality in and that can take time.

“Nicolas has had that big-club experience before. He is a very talented player. Now he is at an age where he has done very well with Rapid Vienna and can make that next step.

“He fits the profile in terms of how we work – he is super quick, direct, dynamic and we feel we can continually improve his game.

Neither Kuhn nor Cameron Carter-Vickers, who is on his way back from a hamstring strain, will play in Sunday’s Scottish Gas Scottish Cup fourth-round tie against Buckie Thistle.

Rodgers said: “Nic won’t be involved at the weekend. He had actually been quite a period out. He had an operation on his teeth so he lost a bit of strength. But he will be okay for Ross County.

“Cam won’t be involved this weekend but by Ross County he will be fine.

“He has been out on the field for a little while. It’s been a frustrating period for him in the opening part of the season, he has picked up some niggles on the back of not having a full pre-season. But we are really hoping he can stay fit and strong for the second part.”

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers enjoyed seeing Buckie Thistle players celebrate getting paired with his side in the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup draw – but he will otherwise treat them like any other opponent.

The Highland League side are set for the biggest game in their history when they travel to Glasgow for Sunday’s fourth-round tie.

Footage emerged of the players on a night out reacting to the draw 24 hours after they beat Broxburn Athletic on penalties in the third round despite getting two men sent off.

Rodgers told Celtic TV: “For me it’s never mattered who the opponent is, we always prepare exactly the same and go through it with great detail.

“But it’s a great story for them. A lot of their players are part-time and to be able to come to Celtic will be a great occasion.

“I saw some of the images of the celebration when the guys saw they had drawn Celtic, which is great, that’s what cup competitions are all about.

“But of course our professional head is to get the job done and get into the next round. We have to be super-focused and professional.”

Celtic new boy Nicolas Kuhn believes Parkhead is the perfect place to achieve his ambitions at club and country level.

The 24-year-old attacker, who signed a five-and-a-half-year deal from Rapid Vienna on Tuesday, played at youth level for Germany up until under-20s and was in the academy teams of RB Leipzig and Ajax before joining Bayern Munich in 2020 following an initial loan move.

Kuhn did not quite make the breakthrough at those European giants before moving to Austria in 2022 but is now looking to kick on, with Champions League football and a senior call-up for Germany in his sights.

Speaking at Celtic Park, he said: “Of course they (Ajax and Bayern) were big clubs. I learned a lot, it was a good school.

“There were a lot of players who had a good career and who made big steps to big clubs so I learned a lot and now I want to show what I can do here.

“At Ajax I played with the whole squad that got to the semi-finals of the Champions League (2019), I trained the whole year with the first team.

“At Bayern I played with players like (Robert) Lewandowski and (Joshua) Kimmich and all the guys you know.

“I think at Ajax I did really good in the youths. When I first arrived, we won the second league with the second team. I trained the whole time with the first team. In the youth league, I was the top scorer and I deserved a chance.

“But then I made the move to Bayern. After the first season, we were also champions with the second team in the third league in Germany.

“Then there were some private problems so I made a step back.

“People were looking at where I was playing but for me it was a good step. So I can take two steps forward now.

“I’ve improved a lot, I think. I’ve now played regularly and I’ve stayed fit. That’s the most important thing. Now I can show what I’m able to do.


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“When I was at Erzgebirge Aue for one year on loan, I said I wanted to play in the Champions League and for the national team.


“Now I’ve made a big step to a big club. So, of course, in the future, I want to play for the national team as well.”

Kuhn had interest from other clubs but insists the call from Celtic and a chat with boss Brendan Rodgers made up his mind to make the move to Glasgow.

He said: “We had some really good meetings, we talked a lot and he told me what a great and big club this is although I knew about Celtic before and I also saw some games.

“He convinced me to come here and everything he told me was really nice and I had the first training session today.

“It was clear at the moment Celtic called and showed interest that I wanted to come here.

“There was some interest from other clubs but the moment I received the message I didn’t think about going somewhere else.”

Celtic have signed winger Nicolas Kuhn from Rapid Vienna for an undisclosed fee.

The 24-year-old has signed a five-and-a-half-year deal at Parkhead.

Manager Brendan Rodgers told the club’s website: “We are delighted to welcome Nicolas to Celtic. We believe he is a dynamic player who has an excellent level of quality and all the attributes to fit well into our style of play.

“He has a real attacking intent, a player with great pace and ideas, the ability to create and score goals and a player with a great energy and work ethic.

“He is someone who can play wide on both sides so he brings with him that versatility for us too.”

Kuhn added: “I’m really excited and I can’t wait to play out here. It’s unbelievable and I don’t really have words. This is what every footballer dreams of.

“I can play on the left, as a second striker or as a number 10. Most of the time, though, I have played on the right wing.

“I am really motivated to do well for this great club and I want to get working immediately as we face our challenges in the league and the cup this year, so I’m really excited for what’s coming.”

Brendan Rodgers revealed Celtic once came close to signing Declan Rice as he highlighted the precarious nature of January transfer deals.

Rodgers hopes to add to his squad early in the month but added a note of caution in the tale of England midfielder Rice, who moved from West Ham to Arsenal in a £105million deal in the summer.

Rodgers has previously spoken of the need to sign players who can make an instant impact with most of the club’s summer signings still to establish themselves in the team.

The Celtic manager, whose first spell in Glasgow came in 2016-2019, said: “The club will do absolutely everything we can to support what we need and what the team needs.

“There is lots of work going on in the background, and I’m pretty sure that in this early period of the month, we can have some joy and get one or two in. Ideally you’d want to get them in (early).

“Deals can be complicated and things that might have been there for three or four months can fall away. That’s always the challenge – it only takes one injury to (affect) a player who was lined up to come in.

“I remember when I was here the first time, we spent about three months looking for Declan Rice to come in.

“Declan was all set to come in and then all of a sudden they (West Ham) had an injury, he stayed and got in the team and the rest is history. That’s not the club’s fault – it’s just the way it goes.

“We have a number of positions we want to prioritise. There are other positions where we won’t be able to do anything until the summer, I know that. But what I do know is that we want to improve the squad and the club are very happy to support that.”

Rodgers is looking to reduce the size of his squad this month but that process is subject to external influences as well.

“I have regular dialogue with players but still we obviously have to wait and see as well because some players may want to go out but, if we don’t get the players in that we need, then I have to ensure the squad is as strong as it possibly can be for the second part of the season,” he said.

The Scottish Football Association has hit back at Rangers as the row over a non-penalty incident at Celtic Park continues.

Celtic defender Alistair Johnston appeared to handle the ball inside the area in the first half of the cinch Premiership clash at Parkhead on December 30 while under pressure from Gers forward Abdallah Sima.

Referee Nick Walsh pointed for a goal kick and the decision was confirmed by VAR official Willie Collum following a check.

It later emerged through Sky Sports – broadcasting the match live – that there had been an offside in the build-up and Rangers claimed that was never mentioned during the VAR analysis.

The Ibrox club called on the SFA to release the audio of the incident and following a meeting with the governing body on Wednesday, Rangers said there was “an overriding consensus the VAR decision of no handball was incorrect”.

The Govan club also added they were “deeply concerned” by the speed of the decision and there were reports that the club had requested that Collum not be involved in Rangers games going forward.

However, in a lengthy statement the SFA said: “The Scottish FA is disappointed by contents of the most recent statement issued by Rangers.

“Chief executive James Bisgrove and director of football operations Creag Robertson attended a private briefing with the head of referee operations, Crawford Allan, to review the incident in question, including the use of matchday audio.

“We understood from the chief executive that the meeting had been constructive and informative, and conducted amicably. This does not appear to be reflected in the club’s statement.

“During the meeting, it was pointed out that the incident in question was a subjective handball and that the VAR did not deem it a sufficiently clear and obvious error to refer to on-field review.

“Furthermore, the offside would not have been mentioned at the time as it was not part of the VAR’s decision-making on the handball.

“It was highlighted within Clydesdale House that had the VAR considered the incident to be a handball offence and asked the referee to carry out an on-field review, the attacking phase of play would have been checked and an offside would have been identified.

“This supplementary information was relayed to broadcasters in-game, and we are reviewing the process of information dissemination to avoid any perceived ambiguity in future.

“There was an overall consensus that the incident could not have led to a penalty kick being awarded in any event, and that there was no impact on the final outcome of the match.”

The statement continued: “Since the summer, we have ensured that key match incidents [KMI] are reviewed and shared with all clubs after every full round of Premiership fixtures, including use of audio.

“We will continue to do this, along with KMI being shared with the independent review panel for their consideration and opinion.

“Finally, we note posts from a recent official media partner of the club’s detailing requests from the private meeting that were immediately rejected.

“We would ask that club representatives show greater responsibility in such matters, especially in the context of recent incidents in European football that have compromised the safety of match officials and led to widespread condemnation.”

The latter comments comes after former MKE Ankaragucu president Faruk Koca was recently given a permanent suspension for punching referee Halil Umut Meler after his side’s draw with Caykur Rizespor in the Turkish Super Lig.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers was delighted to see an “emotional” Reo Hatate back on the pitch before the Japan midfielder departs for the Asian Cup.

Hatate made his first appearance in 10 weeks when he came off the bench during Celtic’s 3-0 win over St Mirren.

The 26-year-old’s latest lay-off because of a hamstring injury was his third leg muscle injury of 2023 and he appeared to be in tears as Rodgers embraced him after the final whistle in Paisley.

Hatate will head off to Qatar with Japan and might not be back until February but Rodgers is excited to see the midfielder perform when he returns.

“You could see afterwards he was actually quite emotional to be back out on the pitch again,” the Celtic boss said. “He’s put in so much hard work and he’s a big, big player for us.

“So hopefully he can go away and get some minutes and keep his fitness up because when he comes back he’s going to be huge for us in the second half of the season.”

Paulo Bernardo is likely to remain a key player during Hatate’s absence after making major strides in recent weeks.

The 21-year-old Benfica loan midfielder provided two brilliant assists in Paisley to add to the goals he scored against Rangers and Dundee in the previous two games.

“It is all patience,” Rodgers said. “Sometimes at big clubs there is no patience with young players. You can see him growing and developing.

“When you have young players that is what tends to happen if their attitude is right and their mentality is right.

“He has come in in these last few games and created goals and scored goals and he has put his foot in too. He is tenacious. Absolutely delighted for him. It is now about consistency.

“He’s a great learner, he’s a different type of player, maybe not as dynamic as Hatate, but he’s functional and he learns.

“He knows the runs, he knows the pressing triggers, and he’s developing and improving.”

Celtic will see four players depart for Qatar with Daizen Maeda joining Hatate in the Japan squad and South Korea calling up Yang Hyun-jun and Oh Hyeon-gyu.

However, Kyogo Furuhashi will remain with Celtic after being overlooked by Japan.

“Daizen was originally in the squad and Reo got called up a bit later,” Rodgers said. “But Kyogo has been in and out of the squad so I was relaxed anyway. We had a look at all the numbers and what it might look like.

“But, obviously, if he stays it’s really good news for us. But, for him, I’m sure he would have wanted to play in it.”

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers praised his players’ mentality after they followed up their derby triumph with a dominant 3-0 win over St Mirren.

The cinch Premiership leaders maintained the eight-point advantage they opened up with Saturday’s victory over Rangers, thanks to a flying start which saw Daizen Maeda net inside 60 seconds and Matt O’Riley slot home his 10th goal of the season six minutes in.

St Mirren had Toyosi Olusanya sent off in first-half stoppage-time and had goalkeeper Zach Hemming to thank for keeping the score down after Greg Taylor volleyed home on the hour mark.

Rodgers said: “It can always be a tricky game mentally and physically after a Rangers game but I thought we dealt with it really well and we made the start we wanted to. It was good tempo, good speed, so that set us up well in the game.

“These games are so important and I think as we work together more the players understand more the mentality that is required and the demands and you can now see the standard of performance we have put in place. And then the results will come.

“The second half the only downside was we never took the chances we created but we were much better 11 v 10 than we were at the weekend.

“We spoke about that after Rangers. You have to really dominate possession and counter press and we did that really well in the second half.”

Celtic have won all four of their games over the festive period after losing consecutive league matches for the first time in a decade.

“I think you can see that it is getting better and improving,” Rodgers said.

“Those results against Kilmarnock and Hearts, it was about learning from those. I think you can see the difference in the team and how they are working.

“And sometimes you need that. To have success you need to have that bit of adversity. How the players have responded to that has been fantastic.

“Their mentality, their attitude, the speed, the tempo of the games is what we want as well with much more creativity. The second part of the season I am excited about.”

Olusanya was sent off after catching Joe Hart in the face with his studs with a high boot following a VAR review but the game already looked beyond St Mirren.

Manager Stephen Robinson said: “It was a long evening. You can’t start like that and win football matches. Effectively the game was dead after six minutes.

“The more you come out the more they can open you up, so the game plan goes out the window.

“Frustrating, because we spoke about getting done on our inside shoulders with Maeda’s runs, and for the third goal we also got done for dropping our runner.

“As well as Celtic showed a lot of quality, of course, we didn’t control that situation well enough.

“Then it’s compounded by the red card which makes it damage limitation whichever way you dress it up.”

Matt O’Riley provided a goal and assist inside the first six minutes as Celtic cruised to a 3-0 victory over 10-man St Mirren.

Daizen Maeda and Greg Taylor were also on target in Paisley as Celtic went into the cinch Premiership winter break eight points clear of Rangers, who have two games in hand.

Toyosi Olusanya was sent off in first-half stoppage-time after catching Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart in the face with a high boot.

It was deja vu for St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson, whose team received red cards in their previous home matches against both Celtic and Rangers.

While the previous dismissals changed the course of those games, Celtic were in command of this one from the very start.

The champions went ahead 56 seconds in after O’Riley collected Callum McGregor’s forward pass and played the ball inside St Mirren wing-back Scott Tanser for Maeda to run onto and beat Zach Hemming.

O’Riley soon had his 10th league goal of the season. Luis Palma fed Paulo Bernardo’s run into the box and the Portuguese midfielder spun past Alex Gogic and teed up O’Riley, who sidestepped Tanser and slotted through Hemming’s legs.

Maeda put in some dangerous crosses from the right as Celtic continued to control the game. They had further chances from set-pieces with Maik Nawrocki unable to get on the end of Kyogo Furuhashi’s flick-on and O’Riley heading beyond the far post.

St Mirren’s only first-half effort was an off-target strike from Olusanya following a loose pass from Liam Scales. And a rare attack late in the half only worsened their situation.

Olusanya went in with a raised boot as Hart punched the ball clear and caught the Celtic goalkeeper in the face with his studs. Referee David Munro initially booked the St Mirren forward but was called to his monitor by video assistant referee Steven McLean and there was no surprise when he amended his card.

The second half started like an attack versus defence training routine as Taylor passed up a good chance to shoot and Palma shot over.

Hemming made a brilliant save from O’Riley shortly before Bernardo’s beautiful lofted pass set up Taylor to volley home from six yards on the hour mark.

Furuhashi headed wide from close range and Brendan Rodgers brought on three players who will join Maeda at the Asian Cup this month – the forward’s Japan team-mate Reo Hatate and South Korea pair Yang Hyun-jun and Oh Hyeon-gyu.

It was Hatate’s first appearance since suffering a hamstring injury against Atletico Madrid on October 25.

Hemming kept the score down, pulling off point-blank saves from Yang and fellow substitute Liel Abada, twice each, and Oh.

Scales also headed off the post and Alistair Johnston missed a good chance as Celtic looked to boost their goal difference.

Celtic have seen two players called up to Japan’s Asian Cup squad but not top goalscorer Kyogo Furuhashi.

Daizen Maeda and Reo Hatate have both been included in the squad.

Hatate has not played since suffering a hamstring injury on October 25 but was back on the bench for Celtic’s win over Rangers on Saturday.

Japan open their Qatar campaign against Vietnam on January 14 and finish the group stage on January 24. Sixteen teams go into the knockout stages ahead of the final on February 10.

South Korea pair Oh Hyeon-gyu and Yang Hyun-jun are also going to the tournament.

Harry Kewell has left Celtic to become head coach of Japanese side Yokohama F. Marinos, with Adam Sadler replacing him in Brendan Rodgers’ backroom staff.

Kewell, the former Liverpool and Leeds forward, was brought in as first-team coach at Parkhead by ex-Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou in June 2022 – his first job back in football since being sacked as Barnet manager the previous September.

“I would like to thank Celtic for giving me such a wonderful opportunity to be part of one of the world’s great football clubs,” the 45-year-old Australian wrote on Instagram.

“It has been an absolute privilege to work with Celtic with two great managers in Brendan and Ange. It has been an honour to be part of such a fantastic institution and it is a time in my career and life, which I will never forget.

“I would like to thank everyone at the club and all the fans who have given me and the team such brilliant support.


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“I would also like to thank Brendan for giving me such support in pursuing this new opportunity. It is a very difficult decision to leave Celtic but I feel the management opportunity presented to me is one I would like to pursue.

“I will always be a Celtic supporter and I will always wish nothing but the very best for the club. I hope the club and our supporters can enjoy more and more success.”

Kewell told his new club’s website: “I am incredibly proud and excited to represent Yokohama F. Marinos.

“I would like to thank the club for putting their trust in me to take the team forward. There is a lot of work ahead of us, and I am eager to get onto the training ground to start working with the players.

“We will work together as we aim to bring success to the club. The hard work begins now.”

Sadler was first-team coach at Leicester from 2018 until this summer, working closely with former Foxes boss Rodgers.

“I am delighted to be joining Celtic,” the 44-year-old Englishman told the Hoops’ website.

“It is such an iconic club with such a brilliant history, a phenomenal fan-base and tremendous record of success.

“It goes without saying I am really looking forward to teaming up with Brendan again. We worked closely at Leicester City and enjoyed some good times.

“I know exactly the way Brendan likes to play and what he demands from his players and staff, so I am sure once again we can work together and achieve really positive results.”

Rodgers added: “I am really pleased to welcome Adam to Celtic. He will be a fantastic addition to our coaching team and I know he will bring some great experience and ability to add to the club.

“I would also like to wish Harry all the very best for the future. I really enjoyed working with him, I thank him for all his work and I am sure he will enjoy the great opportunity he has been given in Japan.”

Rangers have requested that the audio of the VAR penalty incident in the 2-1 defeat at Celtic be released by the Scottish Football Association.

Celtic full-back Alistair Johnston appeared to handle the ball inside his own box in the first half of the cinch Premiership encounter at Parkhead under pressure from Gers attacker Abdallah Sima.

A goal-kick was awarded by referee Nick Walsh and the check by VAR official Willie Collum for handball came to nothing but it later emerged through Sky Sports, who were broadcasting the match live, that there had been an offside in the build-up.

Gers boss Philippe Clement said afterwards: “There was no communication towards me. And if the communication is that Sima is offside, I’m not a referee – but there should have been a clear signal from VAR for offside.”

A Rangers spokesperson said: “Rangers have asked the Scottish FA to make the VAR audio available to the club to understand why no penalty was awarded despite a clear handball by Celtic’s Alistair Johnston.

“The club is keen to understand the process that led to that decision being made as it was not made public at the time, nor communicated to our team.

“We also understand Sky, as the league’s official broadcaster, is deeply unhappy and confused with the situation.

“Their panel spent half-time in agreement Rangers should have been awarded a penalty, unaware of any offside check. Again, this only surfaced in the second half.

“Rangers remains advocates of VAR, but there must be significantly more transparency for it to be successful in Scotland.”

Philippe Clement questioned the VAR process which ruled out a penalty claim in Rangers’ 2-1 defeat by Celtic at Parkhead.

Leading through a Paulo Bernardo goal in the first half, Celtic full-back Alistair Johnston appeared to handle the ball inside his own penalty area under pressure from Abdallah Sima.

The VAR check for handball came to nothing but it later emerged that Sima had been offside in the build-up.

Kyogo Furuhashi added a second just after the break before Rangers defender Leon Balogun was shown a straight red by referee Nick Walsh for denying Daizen Maeda a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Gers skipper James Tavernier curled in a wonderful free-kick in the 88th minute to make it an anxious ending for Celtic, who moved eight points clear of their Old Firm rivals at the top of the table having played two games more.

It was a first defeat for the Belgian in 17 games as Rangers boss and he was left perplexed.

“My biggest frustration isn’t Cyriel Dessers missing a chance because (Erling) Haaland and (Kylian) Mbappe miss chances like that,” said Clement, who claims he was handed a yellow card during the game “for reacting too hard on a ball that was clearly ours given to the other side”.

“My biggest frustration is that if there’s a clear handball, I don’t understand why it’s not a penalty given.

“It’s a clear thing so I’m curious about it.

“There was no communication towards me. And if the communication is that Sima is offside, I’m not a referee but there should have been a clear signal from VAR for offside.

“Then everyone knows the decision. There was no communication at that moment.

“Otherwise, the signal of the referee is not correct. So there’s been a mistake and it’s clear for everyone to see.

“I also make mistakes but it’s an expensive one today.”

Clement was not displeased with the way his side performed in a stadium which had home fans only amid an allocation dispute between the two clubs.

He said: “The match was a good promotion for Scottish football with two teams who wanted to win, attacked and created chances.

“I need to look at my side and I’m happy with what they showed me today.

“We had more shots than Celtic but we didn’t take our moments.

“They were more efficient on the day and when games are in the balance like that, you can lose them.

“It could have been a draw, we could have won it. But the circumstances weren’t on our side.

“My team reacted in the second half, even after a world-class goal to make it 2-0. It’s a very good goal and you can’t do too many things about it.

“But we never stopped, even with 10 men. We kept going and created enough chances to score our goal and others. We went until the end and everyone here became nervous.”

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