Brendan Rodgers: I'm keen for Stephen Welsh to remain at Celtic

The Celtic boss says the defender could play 40 games this season.

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers has revealed that he wants Stephen Welsh to stay at the club after the defender made an important contribution against Aberdeen.

Welsh had fallen out of the first team picture under Ange Postecoglou and hadn’t made a competitive appearance for the club since last October.

That led to speculation that the player was surplus to requirements and could move on during the transfer window.

With Carl Starfelt having left for Celta Vigo, Welsh was on the bench for Sunday’s Premiership match against Aberdeen. When Cameron Carter-Vickers suffered injury and had to be replaced at half-time, Welsh stepped in and helped his side to a hard-fought 3-1 win at Pittodrie.

Though Celtic are going into the market to replace Starfelt, with Elfsborg’s Gustaf Lagerbielke looking set to join the club, Rodgers said he was an admirer of Welsh and saw a role for him this season as the club looks for success in Scotland and in Europe.

“I thought he was excellent when he came in,” Rodgers said. “I like Stephen. I took him with me one pre-season when he was a young player because I really liked him.

“For whatever reason he hasn’t maybe played the games but he’s a Celtic boy who wants to be at the club. I want him to be at the club.

“I said to him, ‘I can’t guarantee you how many games you are going to play. You may play 40 games in the season’.

“But I know he is always ready. He trains very hard every day and he came into the game, he played with composure, and he is aggressive. It was really well done from him.”

Rodgers played down the injury to Carter-Vickers, saying he is hopeful the player won’t be out for long and had “felt his hamstring”. He also said that Reo Hatate had come off as a precaution after the substitute had concerns over his calf.

Odin Thiago Holm replaced the Japanese midfielder and his time on the pitch gave Rodgers encouragement, with fellow substitute Yang also getting praise.

“[Holm] is a good player, he is going to really show his talent as he goes through his time at Celtic,” the manager said. “He is a fantastic footballer. He has got an edge, he can see a pass, can move well.

“And Yang came into the game and sets up the third goal with a great bit of skill. So I am really pleased for all the boys who came into the game and contributed.”

Aberdeen boss Barry Robson was pleased with his side’s efforts despite the final score.

“We were really brave,” he said. “We tried to go after them and we made the game a bit basketball at times and sometimes it was survival of the fittest out there.

“It was entertaining stuff and it was dangerous at times from us but we wanted to have a go and try and win the game.

“It was probably our own doing with a couple of individual errors that cost us in the end but also the quality of the opposition.

“We tried to play in a way that is aggressive and brings speed to the game and I think we did that.

“I think that’s as good a performance you have seen from an Aberdeen team here against Celtic for a lot of years.”

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