BRENDAN Rodgers has backed Anthony Ralston, the teenage right back who started for Celtic against Paris Saint-Germain last week, not to get carried away with being thrust into the limelight.

Rodgers spent many years working as a youth coach and knows the distractions which can lead to a talented youngster failing to fulfil their potential and make the grade as a professional footballer.

But the Northern Irishman has no fears that Ralston, who gave a decent account of himself in the opening Champions League group game despite being up against Neymar, will lose his focus.

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He has also urged supporters not to expect too much from the 18-year-old, who has only played in eight first team games, and stressed he has areas of his game which he needs to improve.

“Let’s let him be and not get carried away just yet,” said Rodgers. “He’s only just started playing games.

“You have to be careful with young players. I say to the young players here, it’s very easy to walk around with the Louis Vuitton soap bag.

“When you walk out of here, don’t tell people you play for Celtic. No, you are training with Celtic. You are playing for Celtic when you are in the first team.

“Lots of young players these days look good, they smell nice, but they don’t put the work in. They don’t play. It’s about working to play for the first team. Thankfully with Tony and the likes, he’s not that type.”

Rodgers added: “Tony has done very well. He still has some improvements to make but there’s a really good base for him to be a part of the team.

“They need to behave themselves and stay professional. I like young players but I don’t like them to act young. You need to have a maturity, especially at a big club like this one, with the focus on you.

“The young players I’ve brought in have all been great. I don’t have any qualms about how they live their life.

“They all know the demands to be here. You stay humble when you win and look to improve every day. With that, your life will get better and better. But never go away from what it’s all about, hard work and doing your very best.”

Rodgers, who managed Watford, Reading, Swansea City and Liverpool in England before joining Celtic last summer, believes some young players struggle to cope with earning huge sums of money at an early age

It would appear that Ralston, who retained his place in the starting line-up in the Ladbrokes Premiership game against Ross County on Saturday and will be hoping to feature in the Betfred Cup quarter-final against Dundee at Dens Park tonight, will not be receiving a pay rise until he has firmly established himself. He said: “There is one common denominator when it comes to young players falling by the wayside - money. It distorts reality. It changes people.

“I’m always cautious of that. I had Raheem Sterling, who was playing for England and a regular in the Liverpool first team, on £2,000 per week.

“I couldn’t do it any longer than about the November time because he was absolutely brilliant, so we had to get him on a different contract. But I stretched it out as long as I could.

“With young players, one, they have to earn it and, two, you don’t go overboard with them because they have played a couple of good games.

“Stay calm. See how consistent and professional they are, and if they are doing well they will always get rewarded. Let them get some games in their legs and let them go from there.”