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Roberts hype is gripping Celtic

By Ronnie Esplin

Stuart Armstrong claims Patrick Roberts is living up to the hype as the clamour from Celtic fans to see the 19-year-old in action intensifies.

The England youth player has shone in a couple of development league games for the Hoops since signing an 18-month loan deal from Manchester City and assistant manager John Collins claimed he was getting closer to a first-team debut ahead of the visit of Inverness in the Ladbrokes Premiership today,

Asked about Roberts, who joined City from Fulham for a fee of around £12million, Armstrong said: "Yeah, I think he's very talented and you see that in training.

"I've not seen the development games but I've been hearing very good things.

"He's scored a few goals as well so I think all the hype is deserved."

Roberts adds competition to an already large Hoops squad which will be bolstered further next season by the addition of Kristoffer Ajer.

The 17-year-old will join the Parkhead club from IK Start on a four-year deal in the summer following a trial in January.

Armstrong, though, accepts that having to fight for your place comes with the territory at a big club like Celtic.

The former Dundee United midfielder said: "It's part and parcel here at Celtic, there's a lot of competition which gives it a competitive edge.

"He (Ajer) seemed like a nice guy when he was here before so I think he is a good addition.

"It's the reality of football there's competition everywhere and you just need to accept it. There's a lot of players here fighting for the starting XI and getting in the squad. There's a lot of strength and depth.

"It's a team and everyone wants the team to do well. Of course in training everyone is competing for a spot in the team and to get as close to that is possible."

Inverness travel on the back of a morale-boosting home win over Aberdeen on Monday night, which dented the title hopes of the second-placed Dons.

"I saw clips of the Aberdeen game," Armstrong said.

"It's good they held on to Greg Tansey as I think he's a very good player.

"But they are a good footballing team and it's always difficult. To get the three points you've got to earn it."

Belfast Telegraph


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