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Bhoys will see Burke at his best: Rodgers

Celtic 3 Airdrie 0

New face: Oliver Burke made his Celtic debut on Saturday
New face: Oliver Burke made his Celtic debut on Saturday

By Andy Newport

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers intends to "strip back" Oliver Burke's game as he looks to finally solve the conundrum surrounding the on-loan West Brom player's best position.

The 21-year-old has racked up almost £30million in transfer fees already in his career but Rodgers says the Scotland international is nowhere near the finished article.

The Parkhead manager handed Burke his Hoops debut as a lone striker against Airdrie in Saturday's comfortable 3-0 win which sealed the holders' place in the last 16 of the Scottish Cup.

But it was a not exactly a show-stopping display from the former Nottingham Forrest and RB Leipzig attacker and Rodgers acknowledged there was work to be done with Burke.

"There are a number of positions Oli can play," said Rodgers, who hopes to welcome main frontman Odsonne Edouard back from a injury this week.

"He came through the system at Forest as a winger then goes to Leipzig, who don't play with wingers so went through the middle.

"With Oliver, he's had such a whirlwind few years, with the transfers. But with the talent he has, it's about stripping it all back.

"We have to make his role clear. With young players worth a lot of money, sometimes they think they know the game. But he's still very young at 21. He's nowhere near the finished article but he has so many attributes and strengths.

"I love working with that kind of player to see if I can extract that bit more.

"I can see that with him. With that pace and power, hopefully we can give him another view of the game.

"He can be an exceptional player, not just for Celtic or West Brom, but for his country too."

Celtic had to show patience against Ian Murray's brave League One minnows but eventually took command thanks to Scott Sinclair's double and a debut strike from another new recruit Timothy Weah.

Now with home games against strugglers St Mirren and Hamilton plus mid-table St Johnstone coming up before the end of January, Rodgers agreed that virtue would be key if they were to keep their noses in front of Rangers in the title race.

"When we look at our next games, teams will defend low against us," he said. "So the key points we have to look for is keeping the game stretched and get crosses into the box. And we need penetration - players running without the ball."

FIFTH ROUND DRAW: Ross County v Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Hibernian v Raith Rovers, Kilmarnock v Cowdenbeath or Rangers, Hearts v Auchinleck Talbot, St Mirren v Dundee United, East Fife v Partick Thistle, Aberdeen or Stenhousemuir v Dundee or Queen of the South, Celtic v St Johnstone

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