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Aussie Rogic in line for a Champions League call-up

By Andy Newport

Published 10/08/2015

Up and running: Tom Rogic is all smiles after netting his first goal for the Hoops against Partick Thistle
Up and running: Tom Rogic is all smiles after netting his first goal for the Hoops against Partick Thistle

Ronny Deila admitted he had no idea who Tom Rogic was when he first moved to Celtic - but has now hinted the Australian could have played his way into the Hoops' Champions League line-up.

The 22-year-old netted his first goal for the club while making his first Hoops start in almost two years as Deila's team beat Partick 2-0 at Firhill.

The £400,000 signing from Central Coast Mariners has not been seen in a Celtic starting XI since the infamous League Cup shocker to Morton back in September 2013.

He was sent back to his homeland for a loan spell with Melbourne Victory ahead of last year's World Cup but fitness issues ruled him out of the Socceroos' squad for Brazil.

And he was a permanent absentee in Deila's first season in Glasgow as a string of injury problems left him unable to play a part.

But Deila has been impressed by a player he confessed he knew little about since he returned to training and the Norwegian manager could now throw him into action as Celtic aim to qualify for the Champions League group stages.

Speaking after the Labdrokes Premiership victory - sealed by Kris Commons' second-half strike -Deila said: "Tom was very good for the first 40 minutes. You can see what kind of talent he is with his touch of the ball and awareness.

"He has a lot of things that he can give to the team and I think we will see much more of him.

"When I came here I hadn't heard anything about him, so I didn't know who he was.

"He was injured the whole time for almost a year last season but once we got him started again I saw that he had something special.

"I told him he would never leave this club before he gets a real chance and now he is showing that he deserves that chance. He has the mentality to succeed."

Asked if he was a candidate to start for the club in their Champions League play-off clashes with Malmo, Deila said: "He was on the bench in Baku and yeah he has shown he is an option for our team."

Celtic endured a six-hour flight back from Azerbaijan on Wednesday night after edging out Qarabag in their Euro qualifier.

The trip took its toll on Scott Brown's hamstring while Stuart Armstrong had to come off after 20 minutes.

But otherwise, there was little signs of tiredness in the first half as Celtic romped forward at will. Their goal came after 28 minutes as Rogic finished off Leigh Griffiths' tee-up with an instinctive flick and Commons wrapped up victory for the visitors midway through a subdued second half.

Meanwhile, Aberdeen put their European disappointment behind them as they overcame Kilmarnock 2-0 to make it two wins from two in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Graeme Shinnie set them on their way and Adam Rooney added a second from the penalty spot to seal the points.

 

partick t 0

Celtic2

Partick: Cerny, Miller, Hendry, Lindsay, Booth, Osman, Welsh (Fraser 75), Wilson, Bannigan, Lawless (Pogba 50), Stevenson (Amoo 67). Subs not used: Scully, Seaborne, Doolan, McDaid.

Booked: Osman, Miller.

Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, van Dijk, Izaguirre, Bitton, Rogic (Mackay-Steven 64), Commons (Henderson 88), Johansen, Armstrong (McGregor 21),Griffiths. Subs not used: Ambrose, Scepovic, Janko, Bailly.

Goals: Rogic 28,Commons 63.

Attendance: 7,088

Referee: John Beaton (Scotland).

Belfast Telegraph

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