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Thursday 14 December 2017

Rodgers ready to blood new talent

Brendan Rodgers. Pic: PA
Brendan Rodgers. Pic: PA

Celtic fans should expect to see some potential stars of the future involved against Partick Thistle tonight, according to boss Brendan Rodgers.

The champions are in the middle of a punishing nine-game December schedule but their 2-1 home win over Dundee on Saturday took them back 11 points clear of Rangers at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership, and they have two games in hand over the Ibrox men.

With such a commanding lead on the back of a 20-game unbeaten domestic run, the Northern Irishman is ready to draft in some of his Under-20 squad for the visit of basement boys Jags.

Rodgers revealed a number of the academy players have been training with the first team and "doing very well", although he refused to give names.

Forward Jack Aitchison become Celtic's youngest ever player and the Parkhead club's youngest ever scorer when he came off the bench at the age of 16 to notch in the 7-0 home win over Motherwell at the end of last season, under former boss Ronny Deila.

Defender Anthony Ralston also made his debut under the Norwegian and the 18-year-old came off the bench against Motherwell in the Betfred Cup in August.

Rodgers, who will have skipper Scott Brown back from suspension, said: "I can have a look at my squad and see if there are any younger players who can come in.

"My job fundamentally coming here was to win trophies, to play attacking football the Celtic way and to bring young players through.

"So we will look to see if there are any young players we can maybe look at over the next few games.

"This is what building a club is about, creating the hope for the youth players otherwise if they don't think they can play, then why should you have an academy?

"We have to develop young players here. That is how I have always worked but they have to be ready.

"Not totally ready of course but they need to show the ingredients, that they can come in and play in the first team. That is important."

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