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Izaguirre on a high after returning 'home' to Celtic

By Ronnie Esplin

Emilio Izaguirre is delighted to be "back home" after rejoining Celtic on a one-year deal.

The 32-year-old Honduras left-back enjoyed a successful seven-year spell at the Parkhead club before joining Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Fayha at the end of the 2016-17 season.

Manager Brendan Rodgers has brought back Izaguirre as understudy to Scotland international Kieran Tierney - the deal is subject to international clearance - and the Honduran could not be more delighted.

"I am happy to be back home," he said.

"I was seven years at Celtic and I have only the love for Celtic in my heart, so I am happy to be back home.

"It was a blessing to sign a new contract and I would like to say thank you to Brendan the gaffer, Peter (Lawwell, chief executive) and all the staff at Celtic.

"I am very happy to be back home."

Izaguirre has no qualms playing second fiddle to Tierney, who came through the youth ranks to take his place in the Celtic team.

He said: "I am very happy for KT, he is my boy. I always tried to help him.

"I am very happy he has progressed.

"I saw him in the youths, he wanted to be a big player and he needs to continue to work hard and try to do the same things he did last year and he can be the best left-back in the world.

"It is important for me to help the team in any way, in training, playing or not playing, my focus is to play any time the gaffer gives me the opportunity and be positive for the team."

Rodgers is preparing his side for a keenly-awaited Ladbrokes Premiership clash with Hearts at Tynecastle today.

The Ulsterman complained about the length of the grass at the Gorgie ground after the champions had won 3-1 last May and is bracing himself for more of the same this weekend.

He said: "I don't know Craig Levein that well, but in my meetings with him I've enjoyed our short discussions.

"He's put together a competitive team.

"I'm sure the grass will be long, I'll anticipate it, but like we showed the last time, you have to play what's in front of you or below you at your feet, and the job is to get three points.

"I'm a football fan so I love to see teams winning and good football.

"You can only really say what I said when you do win. When you lose you have to keep your mouth closed and then just walk on.

"For me, it's about football and bringing the best football game to the supporters. That won't change with me.

"It'll be a tough game for us, a tough team to play against, but we go there looking to get three points."

Rodgers could make good use of his squad depth for the clash against Hearts.

The Hoops will play the second leg of their third Champions League qualifier against AEK Athens on Tuesday following a 1-1 home draw at Parkhead last Wednesday.

Given the importance of that match, there might be changes in Gorgie.

Belfast Telegraph

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