BRENDAN Rodgers has stressed that he will have no qualms about signing an Israeli player in future following the departure of Liel Abada from Celtic this week.

Abada joined MLS franchise Charlotte in the United States on Thursday in a deal which could end up banking the Parkhead club £10m.

The 22-year-old winger has felt unable to play for the Scottish champions, whose fans have shown their support for the people of Palestine amid the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, in recent weeks.

Rodgers, whose side take on Livingston at home in the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup quarter-finals, described the exit of the former PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year as “desperately sad” on Friday.

However, the Northern Irishman has stated that he will have no hesitation bringing in an Israeli footballer going forward if he believes he can improve his squad.   

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“I just want good players,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where they are from. We want good players, whatever nationality or creed.

“We want players who come here and fit into the culture and develop. This is an incredible club to come and learn how to be a winner, to deal with pressure and expectation.

“A player from any nationality, they have to fit the culture and mark of what we want to work in. But it certainly wouldn’t stop me.”

The Herald: Brendan RodgersMeanwhile, Rodgers has admitted that he will decide whether to try and land Norwich City loanee Adam Idah on a permanent deal at the end of the season.

The Republic of Ireland internationalist has been preferred to up front to Kyogo Furuhashi in Celtic’s last two games and scored a double in the 3-1 victory over Motherwell at Fir Park last month.

The Celtic manager has been pleased with how the 23-year-old, who has netted five times in seven appearances since moving to Scotland in January, has performed in attack, but he will only make a decision on the player at the end of the 2023/24 campaign. 

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“I haven’t thought as far as that,” he said. “I’m excited to work with him. Having seen what he has on the training field now and getting to know the person, he thrives on the pressure.

“He’s a really top reference point for the team. He is still well short of his ceiling as a player. There’s quite a bit for him to go.

“I’m just really happy he has settled in well. He’s very popular among his team mates. I can see he’s got a hunger to improve.

“So we’ll just assess that at the end of the season. It’s not all in our hands. If anything was to happen, it would need to be negotiated.”

Rodgers has stressed that replacing Joe Hart, the veteran English goalkeeper who will retire in May, will be his top priority this summer.

“It’ll be a big one and it’s important,” he said. “You need players with that mentality and character. 

“Joe’s been absolutely massive in his time here. He’s been here for three years and has been immense.

“That position is always key. As a Celtic goalkeeper, you need to have that personality, confidence and feeling of what it takes to play for a big club. It’s a big job for us to replace him.”

The Herald: