Brendan Rodgers: ‘My biggest qualifying challenge at Celtic so far’

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The Dedryck Boyata situation has become a real mess at Celtic.

Boyata, who has not played since Belgium's World Cup group game against England on June 28, was expected to make his long-awaited return against Hearts on Saturday.

"The only other point; Dedryck's agent turned up (on Friday) at the training ground, which is closed the day before the game". It is hard for a player.

"He wanted to speak to me at 10 o'clock".

"He is a player that we would have loved to have here with us".

AEK Athens boss Marinos Ouzounidis played down Ajer's absence, saying: "They also have Jack Hendry and Jozo Simunovic and they both played in some of Celtic's major wins a year ago, so they are great players with great qualities".

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Celtic Manager Brendan Rodgers. "The plan is for him to stay here and I don't see that changing".

"But he has worked very hard to come back and will take his place in the squad". That's where it is at. "Of course we want quality players but there's still improvement in this squad, this team, lots of young players so we'll continue to work with and improve them", he said. We have to be able to cope with that.

Lafferty was the one who scored the only goal of the game, which took Hearts to the top of the Scottish Premiership table.

Now attention is likely to switch to Lafferty's future if, as expected, Rangers return with an enhanced bid to take the Northern Ireland global back for a second spell at Ibrox and if, as is equally likely, Hearts increase the asking price, citing his fourth goal in two seasons against Celtic as justification.

Rangers have continued their pursuit of Hearts forward Kyle Lafferty, according to the latest Old Firm rumour mill. The Champions League is that in European football.

"I am absolutely positive he could do both but today he did make changes and it was another thing, along with our form, along with recent performances here against Celtic - positive thoughts for us to go into the game absolutely believing we had a chance of winning".