Alex McLeish has suggested Patrick Roberts would be welcomed back with open arms to Celtic if he is made available by Manchester City this month.
The former Rangers and Scotland boss, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, questioned whether the Bhoys need to add another attacking player to their ranks during the winter window but insisted the winger would likely want to return to Parkhead.
As quoted by the Glasgow Times, Neil Warnock confirmed he told the 23-year-old he is free to cut his loan spell at Middlesbrough short in a bid to find more regular first-team football for the rest of the season.
The Daily Record state Celtic have been made aware of the Manchester City loanee’s availability as the Bhoys consider signing a new winger to help cover the loss of James Forrest to injury.
Roberts played 78 times for the Hoops during two loan spells in Glasgow, although his second stint was not as impressive as his first.
McLeish believes Celtic Park is a home away from home for the treble winner but admitted there might not be a place in the squad for him to join this month.
McLeish told Football Insider: “Well I’m sure he sees Celtic as another home from his parent club but he’ll be disappointed with the Middlesbrough experience that he didn’t nail it there.
“That would possibly affect his form and his confidence but it looks as if he’d be welcomed back to Celtic if he became available again.
“In saying that, the way Celtic are going at the moment, they’ve got the new players in the team, Forrest may be on the way back, will they really need him?
“They’ve got a bunch of new guys who have scored goals, they’ve come into the team, done well initially, then struggled and come back again. Maybe there’s not a space for him but that’s not for me to give you a definitive answer.”
Whelan told the Glasgow Times: “I’ve had a chat with Patrick, and he’s aware of the situation. I think the lad wants to play.
“I don’t want him to leave, but I’ve said to him that if he wants to, or if he thinks he can improve his chances of playing by going somewhere different, then I wouldn’t stand in his way.”