Dedryck Boyata set to be offered Celtic lifeline by Brendan Rodgers
The Belgian defender helped his side coast to a 3-0 Scottish Cup win against Albion Rovers and book a last-16 clash with Inverness at Parkhead.
Boyata is a target for homeland club Anderlecht, but Rodgers is not ready to let him go in January. And the manager threw down the gauntlet to the 26-year-old after he played just his second game of the season.
Rodgers said: “The problem in the past is that he has made mistakes and you can’t make mistakes. That’s to do with concentration.
“Today he was very focused and this might be his moment.
“He looked real quality. He’s got the shirt, he played well – now stay in the team.
Dedryck Boyata in action for Celtic in the 3-0 win over Raith Rovers on the Scottish Cup
“He has a part to play for me. He has all the attributes I love. He’s big, he has good spring and can defend. He steps forward and can play.
“Dedryck looked like the young player I once knew at Manchester City. I saw him play against Didier Drogba and he was fantastic, strong and aggressive and kept it simple.
“I have a squad of 20-odd players who are working well and I want to make sure we are tight, strong and everyone is fighting for a place in the team.
“I’m not aware of any contact about him from other clubs. He hasn’t had a chance to play because of the others, but he has looked really good the last few weeks in training.”
Rodgers hailed a job well done after goals from Scott Sinclair, Moussa Dembele and Stuart Armstrong put the League One minnows to the sword.
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He added: “It was professional without too many scares.
“You have to be patient. You can’t score every time you go forward.
“The players have to stay calm and wait for the moment, circulate the ball and wait for the space.
“Scott’s goal was a bit of magic, a bit of quality and great to see. He was outstanding.”
Rodgers gave little away in the transfer stakes after it emerged Celtic failed in a £1million bid for Nigerian striker Henry Onyekuru.
Rodgers was coy on speculation surrounding Henry Onyekuru joining Celtic
The 19-year-old is currently with Belgian side Eupen and is keen on a move to Parkhead if a deal can be struck.
“There’s nothing to add on it. We have a week to go. I want to add freshness and add quality,” said Rodgers.
“But only if it’s the right time, the player is available and it’s at the right level of affordability. If not, I’ll wait for the summer.”
Albion Rovers couldn’t lay a glove on Celtic, but boss Darren Young insists his players gave their all.
He said: “I’m disappointed with the result, but we knew it would be backs to the wall.”