By Alex Stevens
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John Hartson has hailed Celtic for appointing a proven winner in Brendan Rodgers.
The former Hoops striker is convinced that Rodgers’ qualities as a coach and in nurturing young talent can elevate the club to the next level.
Celtic have some emerging young stars including Kieran Tierney, Leigh Griffiths and Nir Bitton and Hartson believes the northern Irishman is the ideal manager to tap into their potential
The former Liverpool boss was confirmed as Ronny Deila’s successor on Friday afternoon in a move which has delighted Parkhead fans.
“It’s a great appointment,” said Hartson, as quoted by The Sun. “Brendan is someone that’s proven. He took Swansea up to the Premier League for the first time in 30 years. There was many a manager that tried before him.
“He finished second in the Premier League at Liverpool working with top players.
“He’s got a reputation for being a great coach, bringing on young talent and Celtic have several good young players.
“They’ve got themselves a proper manager of the highest regard. I think he’ll do very, very well there, I really do. It’s a great opportunity for Brendan and I think the fans will embrace his appointment.”
Rodgers will be tasked with seeing off a renewed challenge from Rangers and negotiating a safe passage through the Champions League qualifiers.
Hartson believes there will be big challenges for Rodgers at home and in European competition.
“I think the challenge will be there, probably more of a challenge next season with Rangers back in the fold, Aberdeen, Hearts, so I think the challenge is there – but also he’s got a little bit of European experience and that’s where Celtic want to be back,” the former Wales international said to The Sun.
“They want to be back in those big European nights that I was very blessed to have played in at Celtic Park.
“They’ve got some Champions League qualifiers coming up at the end of July – first and foremost they have to get into the Champions League group stages and then they’ve got those big games at Celtic Park in front of full houses where the atmosphere is like nothing else in football.”
Deila, who bowed out with a resounding 7-0 win over Motherwell on Sunday, announced last month he was standing down after two seasons despite leading the Hoops to their fifth successive title.
There have been calls for the newly-crowned Scottish champions to spend £20million on new players in a bid to reach the Champions League group stages.
But Parkhead chief executive Lawwell insisted the club will not spend beyond their means and take on debt.