BRENDAN Rodgers insisted last night that he has the final say on every player who arrives at Celtic and told the critics to lay off the club’s head of recruitment Lee Congerton. The former Sunderland talent spotter’s contribution to the club’s successes has been a topic of debate for both supporters and media commentators alike since pretty much the day of his arrival and it flared up again in midweek after the Northern Irishman said that he didn’t know a great deal about Ukrainian winger Maryan Shved, a £1.75m transfer target from Karvaty Lviv who is to be loaned out again as the club already have “about a million wingers”.

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Crediting him with the arrival of the likes of Odsonne Edouard and Filip Benkovic, Rodgers insisted last night that his former Chelsea colleague Congerton has a real eye for a player and his critics misunderstand the club’s process and market position. That is perhaps why he has come to the attention of his former boss Frank Arnesen in relation to taking him to Anderlecht, a club who will operate in a similar market to the Parkhead side.

“I’ve never known a head of recruitment get criticised the way he does,” said Rodgers. “So I’m not sure where the stories come from. And it’s unfair. Whether it was John Park or Lee or whoever, it’s not an easy job being head of recruitment at a club like Celtic. Because the expectancy here is to do well not just domestically but in Europe – but you don’t have those resources.

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“Part of Lee’s job is to find not just players for now, but to find players who are strategic for the club, who can help the club later on,” the Northern Irishman added. “He does a great job with the resources that he works with. He obviously has to scour the market and, at this moment in time, in terms of recruitment, it’s probably never been more difficult. “A lot of the time, he’ll find players we just can’t bring in,” Rodgers added. “His job is to find the players and, in his time here, he’s done that. Now whether we get them here or not is a different story. But, listen, the regular supporter wouldn’t know the operation. “And when one or two get emotional in the media and start to point fingers, that can snowball. But he’s very talented. He hasn’t worked in the game for this period of time without having that talent. And he loves it. He enjoys working here and he’ll continue to work tirelessly with his staff. The players he identifies are exactly what we need as a team.”

As much as those comments in relation to Shved raised eyebrows, Rodgers’ biggest crime would appear to be honesty. One winger who is likely to be moving on is Lewis Morgan, who has loan offers from both Aberdeen and Sunderland. “I was being honest,” said Rodgers. “I’m not going to say I’ve been tracking the boy for six months. I don’t need a winger now but he’s a talent and if the club sign him then we’ll look at a development plan, whether it’s coming in now or going on loan to play games. It should be done at the beginning of the week and we’ll go from there. “Do I have the final say on all transfers? Absolutely. It will come to me in the process. I’ll look at him and see where he’s at.”