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Saturday 19 August 2017

Brendan Rodgers says hands off Craig Gordon amid reported interest from Chelsea

Brendan Rodgers tells Chelsea no go on Craig Gordon
Brendan Rodgers tells Chelsea no go on Craig Gordon

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers is not surprised by Chelsea's reported interest in Craig Gordon but insists his goalkeeper is going nowhere.

The 34-year-old, who resurrected his career at Parkhead and with Scotland after a two-year spell out with injury, is interesting the Stamford Bridge outfit as they consider whether or not to allow Asmir Begovic to join Bournemouth.

Rodgers was speaking after a Dedryck Boyata goal gave the Hoops a 1-0 win over St Johnstone at Parkhead on Wednesday night.

The result meant the Hoops extended their unbeaten domestic run since the start of the season to 26 games equalling a record set by Jock Stein's all-conquering side of 1967, to go 22 points clear of Rangers at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership.

The Northern Irishman, who spent four years working in the Chelsea youth set-up, told the London club they would be wasting their time bidding for Gordon.

He said: "If it is the case then of course we don't want to sell him.

"I am not surprised. His contract is up at the end of the season but there is an option for the club.

"But it is not something we would consider really.

"I worked at Chelsea for four and bit years.

"It is a difficult decision for a player especially if you are getting financial rewards at the end of it.

"There was many good players who came in and you get a little bit excited when you come in, the facilities are fantastic, there are world class players.

"But after one year it is about playing.

"Craig has had that trauma of a couple of years out, not playing.

"And from my experience, he loves playing football.

"He maybe thought his career was done but he is 34, fit as he has ever been and playing at the best level he has done, according to him.

"He has the opportunity to win trophies. He has the opportunity to play in the Champions League and he has an opportunity to stay at home with his family.

"His kids are settled so he is in a good place and we want to keep him.

"Of course it is a great honour if these clubs want him but he knows like all of them, Celtic is a huge club and he is very much part of what we are trying to build here."

Saints gave Celtic one of their toughest tests this season and boss Tommy Wright said: "We couldn't have done much more. We defended well and created some opportunities ourselves, particularly first half.

"I am disappointed that we conceded from a corner."

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