Rodgers gives Cole the boot at Celtic

Date published: Thursday 16th June 2016 1:07

Carlton Cole: Released by Celtic

Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic clear-out has continued after the Hoops confirmed forward Carlton Cole has been released.

His exit from Parkhead follows the departures of fellow strikers Anthony Stokes and Colin Kazim-Richards, who were also both deemed surplus to requirements by the new management team.

Cole, 32, was a surprise signing last November after joining as a free agent following his release by West Ham.

The former Chelsea frontman managed just five appearances during his seven-month stint in Glasgow, scoring his only goal in a 3-0 William Hill Scottish Cup win over part-timers Stranraer.

In a statement, the club said: “Celtic Football Club today confirmed that Carlton Cole is leaving the club.

“Everyone at Celtic would sincerely like to wish Carlton the very best of success for the future.”

The squad left behind by boss Ronny Deila is bloated with midfield options but short on credible striking alternatives.

Leigh Griffiths led the line in impressive style last season as he became the first Celtic player since Henrik Larsson to score 40 goals in a single season but it was always felt that the Scottish champions were just one injury to their main marksman away from being in difficulty last term.

Norwegian youngster Kristoffer Ajer – signed on a pre-contract by Deila before he parted company with the club – is so far the only new face to check into Celtic Park this summer but Rodgers is keen to make space for new arrivals as he plots the club’s Champions League campaign.

The Northern Irishman’s team enter the competition at the second qualifying round, with the first leg on either July 12 or 13.

The Glasgow giants – who are seeded in the second round and the third if they make it through – will find out who they face on Monday when the draw is made at UEFA’s Swiss headquarters in Nyon.

Among their potential opponents are Swedish champions Norrkoping, Hungarians Ferencvaros and Hapoel Be’er Sheva of Israel.

However, Rodgers will only be able to add one more player to his squad after the July 7 transfer deadline if he wants them to take part in the first leg.

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