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Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers tips Stuart Armstrong to be central to Hoops push for glory

By Ronnie Esplin

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has backed Stuart Armstrong to make his mark in central midfield for club and country.

Armstrong started and scored in Celtic's 4-0 victory over Ross County on Wednesday night as one of two central midfielders behind an attacking four, after impressing off the bench during Sunday's Betfred Cup win over Rangers.

Ulsterman Rodgers admitted he has worked on the 24-year-old's confidence and tactical knowledge since arriving in the summer ahead of the midfielder's second full season at Parkhead.

"He has played a lot of his time here on the left side, which I can understand why maybe managers would play him there, because he is very diligent and works well and he has an eye for goal," said Rodgers, whose side go to nearest challengers Aberdeen tomorrow.

"But we spoke to him a lot in pre-season in terms of his position and where he felt most comfortable, and at that time it was maybe difficult for him to get a game in his preferred position.

"But what he has done, each day from that, he has looked to improve and understand the tactical element of playing on the inside. He's got a wonderful intelligence. He's a good footballer, Stuart, and he's improving tactically all the time.

"Technically he is strong, his finish on Wednesday night I see in training every day. He has a wonderful strike in him, different types of finishes.

"Physically he is very good. Our first goal came from his ability to press the ball very quickly, and his goal, he spotted the space and showed great speed."

Rodgers feels Armstrong's first Scotland cap is in sight.

"He has come into one of the biggest clubs in the world and it sometimes takes that little bit of time to find your feet," Rodgers said.

"If he keeps improving and showing those levels, there is absolutely no question he is a player that can feature for his national team."

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