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Monday 26 September 2016

Hartson: Rodgers needs at least three players

Celtic’s John Hartson. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Celtic’s John Hartson. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers needs to sign a minimum of three new players if they are to make any meaningful progress in this season's Champions League, according to former Hoops great John Hartson.

Hartson (41) believes that Celtic need a "freshness" after two years of failing to qualify for the group stages of Europe's premier club competition.

And, for that to be achieved, Rodgers needs to be backed by the club's owners in the transfer market in order to sign a striker, a midfielder and a centre-half.

The 51-times capped Welsh international is confident that Celtic will turn around last week's shock 1-0 defeat to Gibraltar champions Lincoln Red Imps in tomorrow's second leg at Parkhead.

"There is no guarantees of anything, but I think we will get through to the next round. After that, I'm hopeful more than confident that we will get into the group stages.

"Brendan can only improve the current squad so much. We need to bring in some impetus. I'm not quite sure what we're waiting for. Surely we should be looking to bring in players right now.

"We're two or three weeks away from the first game of the (Scottish Premiership) season and we've got these big friendly game coming up.

"Now is the time to bring in some new faces to give the club that little lift and take us through to the group stages. When new players come in, people around them raise their game. Before he took the job, I'm sure Brendan would have spoken to the board and said 'I need this and I need that - he's not good enough, he's not good enough for me. I need to bring players who are going to be good enough to talk Celtic forward. This is what I need.'

"Yet, at this moment in time we are not doing anything. We're not bringing anybody in and I think we need to do that. Brendan needs a little bit of help.

"I think he needs at least three. He needs a central defender, a creative midfield player and a striker."

Speaking in his role as Celtic ambassador ahead of the club's upcoming friendly with Inter Milan at Thomond Park on August 13, Hartson was firm in his belief that Rogers will be a good fit as Celtic manager.

"We've seen it over the years. We've seen it with Martin (O'Neill) and we've seen it with Gordon Strachan. That's what the fans want. That's why they have brought in a manager of Brendan's calibre," he said.

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