By Coral Barry

Brendan Rodgers has assured Charlie Mulgrew he is a key part of his Celtic plans and has urged the defender to remain at the club, according to a report.

The Scotland international’s contract at Celtic Park expires at the end of this month with Championship clubs Derby and Hull hoping to tempt him away from Scottish football.

The time taken to identify and appoint Celtic’s new manager has delayed talks with Mulgrew over a new contract, but the versatile defender has now revealed he has been given assurances from Rodgers regarding his future.

“It was brilliant to take a call from the new gaffer,” he said speaking to the Scottish Sun. “I’ve always said I’m happy at Celtic, that I love playing for the club, and that I wanted to get things sorted out.

“That hasn’t changed, so it’s great to have Brendan Rodgers tell me directly he wants to keep me.

“He texted me late on Tuesday night, and then we had a conversation on Wednesday afternoon which was fantastic.

“Nothing has been agreed, we still need to sit around the table and agree a contract. But we had a good chat, and hopefully we can now get things sorted out.”

Mulgrew’s recent seasons have been wrecked by various injuries with the defender limited to just 20 appearances for Celtic in each of his last two campaigns.

However, when the 30-year-old has played he has remained an integral part of the first team and is popular among the Hoops faithful.

In other Celtic news, the Hoops will go head to head with rivals Rangers for a Premier League striker.