Celtic 'must move players out before signing new players' - Pat Bonner

Celtic lost in Gibraltar against the semi-professional outfit
Celtic will seek to overturn a first-leg deficit in their Champions League qualifier against Lincoln Red Imps

Pat Bonner believes Celtic will have to sell players to make room in the squad before they bring in any more recruits.

Brendan Rodgers has signed just one player, Moussa Dembele, since taking over as manager, but said on Tuesday he is looking at "a couple" more.

"Getting players out first and foremost will be the objective," former Celtic keeper Bonner told BBC Scotland.

"It will take a bit of time. I would expect Brendan to bring in a few before the [Champions League] deadline."

If Celtic overturn a 1-0 Champions League deficit against Gibraltan part-timers Lincoln Red Imps on Wednesday, they would have until 23:00 BST on Thursday, 21 July to complete any signings if they were to be available for the third qualifying round starting next week.

A further play-off round follows on 16/17 and 23/24 August before the group stages get under way in mid-September.

Bonner believes 20-year-old striker Dembele will prove a good signing, and identified other positions where the Scottish champions need to strengthen.

Moussa Dembele in action for Celtic in their pre-season friendly against Wolfsburg
Dembele had his first taste of Parkhead in Saturday's friendly win against Wolfsburg

"Dembele is young and not 100% fit yet," the Irishman said. "I think he will turn into a very good player - that's a position where they needed to strengthen.

"There are other positions like midfield - someone on the ball to make those killer passes forward - and the centre-half position has been hit by injury.

"If he can bring in a few players, then you'll see what Brendan is all about and what kind of team he wants to play on the pitch. That'll be interesting for me."

Rodgers himself admits he "inherited a huge squad" and knows "we need to trim it".

'Give Rodgers time to make his own stamp'

As the manager stressed on Tuesday, Bonner believes Celtic's supporters will "need to be patient" at Parkhead on Wednesday after what he labelled the "shocking result" in Gibraltar.

If they prevail on aggregate, Celtic will play either Astana of Kazakhstan or Lithuanians Zalgiris Vilnius in the third qualifying round over the next fortnight.

"I think Celtic have enough about them to score early on," Bonner added. "They'll go on and handsomely win the game.

"The underdog is always looking to maintain the 0-0 scoreline in the first half hour and into half-time, then hope that the crowd will turn on the home team.

"But the fans need to be patient. Brendan is in the role now and there are huge expectations and [the fans] are expecting big things.

"I do believe that he has to be given time to get his own players in and make his own stamp on this team."

Top Stories