Celtic: Brendan Rodgers wants to create a more competitive squad

Brendan Rodgers receives the PFA Scotland manager of the year award from Scottish FA performance director Malky Mackay
Celtic's Brendan Rodgers was voted PFA Scotland manager of the year on Sunday

Brendan Rodgers is eager to create a more competitive Celtic squad next season, by making a handful of top-class summer signings.

Rodgers was voted PFA Scotland's manager of the year on Sunday, after guiding the champions to the League Cup and Premiership title.

And he feels supplementing Celtic's obvious strength in depth will help propel his team to the next level.

"Players will tell you, if they have competition it improves them," he said.

"It's the best time to develop. You can never become complacent. The players have improved, they're going to improve even more and gain more confidence next season.

"And if we can add one or two to that with genuine quality, then it just makes the group really competitive on a daily basis, and that will improve them in the games.

"We're very much wheels in motion, looking to improve and bring more quality to the squad as opposed to numbers. That's well underway. We've got a great recruitment team and people behind the scenes working very closely with myself and Peter on that."

Under Rodgers, Celtic have not lost a domestic match, and will complete a first treble of national trophies since 2001 should they beat Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup final on 27 May.

Brendan Rodgers and Stuart Armstrong
Rodgers has helped bring out the best in players such as Stuart Armstrong - who was nominated for PFA Scotland's player of the year

Results aside, an early hallmark of the former Liverpool boss's tenure has been the startling surges in form of players such as Callum McGregor and Stuart Armstrong - midfielders on the fringes of the Parkhead squad last season, who are flourishing under his tutelage.

"For myself and the coaching staff it's just trying to maximise what we get out of players," Rodgers added.

"What are their strengths, what are they good at, and how can we develop their strengths to a greater level, while looking at other aspects of their game as well. Hopefully if you pull it altogether you've got something tangible to show; it's just about time on the training field and hopefully getting the rewards from that."

Tierney 'surprised' to win back-to-back awards

Celtic defender Kieran Tierney won the PFA's young player of the year award for the second season running, despite missing two months of first-team action with shoulder and ankle ligament problems.

The 19-year-old left-back admits he did not expect to beat team-mates Moussa Dembele and Patrick Roberts, and Hibernian striker Jason Cummings to the trophy.

"I'm surprised (to win) because the competition was brilliant this season - Moussa, Patrick and Jason have been great," Tierney said. "I thought my chances would have been lower because I was out for a few months, had a couple of operations, but I'm just grateful to the people who voted for me.

"Maybe (the way I came back from injury) is a factor. I worked hard in my few months out to come back just as I left off."

Kieran Tierney is presented with PFA Scotland's young player of the year award by Lisbon Lions Bertie Auld and Jim Craig
Kieran Tierney was voted PFA Scotland young player of the year for the second year in succession

Tierney, who in just his third Scotland cap switched flanks to the right side of defence in the crucial win over Slovenia, believes he is a more technically proficient player 12 months on from winning the award for the first time.

And while his burgeoning talents may attract summer suitors, he insists ignoring any speculation over his future is easy.

"I'm a lot more experienced now; I've played over double the games I had last season," Tierney added. "I have a Champions League campaign and I've played in a few different positions.

"You see stuff in the papers and on Twitter, people telling you, but I just need to concentrate on what I'm doing - training and playing well for Celtic. It's easy for me (to ignore) because I'm happy where I am."

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