Mowbray eager to keep Brown

Celtic manager denies trying to sell midfielder and confirms Rogne signing

Scott Brown is still an integral part of Celtic's future, according to his manager Tony Mowbray.

There were reports yesterday that just before Christmas the Hoops' manager had informed the 24-year-old midfielder, who is just a week away from returning to action after a second ankle operation, of his intention to sell him.

As the Parkhead club revealed that they are currently taking legal advice over the issue, the former Hibernian and West Bromwich Albion manager rejected in the strongest possible terms, claims of Brown's imminent departure.

"The story is absolute nonsense," Mowbray told the the club's official website. "I never told Scott Brown that I want him to leave the club. Scott is a huge player for Celtic and absolutely part of the future plans of this club. I have worked with Scott for a number of years and have a great relationship with him. It's disappointing that people are able to write things which are so inaccurate.

"But I know our supporters will understand that unfortunately this is one of the things we need to deal with. I am sure they will also know that we are all working together at Celtic to do all we can to achieve success for the club."

Brown, who played under Mowbray at Hibernian before moving to Celtic for around £4.5m in the summer of 2007, was quoted in the article as saying: "Yes, there was a conversation between myself and the manager but I am not prepared to go into details. I believe these things should remain private. Maybe you should ask him what was said. I have nothing more to add."

However, on Celtic's website, the Scotland international said: "Obviously I am very disappointed with this article as there is no foundation to it. I have worked with the manager for some time and have a very good relationship with him. It's disappointing to have been out for so long with an injury but I'm looking forward to getting back to full fitness as soon as possible and getting back in to the team for the second half of the season."

A spokesman for the Parkhead club added: "As a club, we can only speculate about the motivation of such an erroneous article but we can assure the Celtic supporters that we will not allow this type of reporting to unsettle the club or the player.

"At this stage of the season, it's more important than ever that everyone at Celtic Football Club and the supporters pull together. We will not let this be disrupted by any outside interference."

Celtic have completed the signing of the Norway Under-21 defender Thomas Rogne on a three-and-a-half-year contract. Rogne, 19, has been in training with the Hoops' first team over the past few days and described the move as a "dream come true".

"I'm absolutely delighted to sign for a club of Celtic's stature," he said. "It really is a dream come true to join such a famous club. I've already joined training with the first-team for the last few days and I have received a great welcome and have enjoyed very much working with the manager and players at Celtic. The Celtic first team is where I want to be and I'll be doing my very best to try and make an impact and ensure that I can achieve this as soon as possible."

Rogne joined Jos Hooiveld and Ki Sung-Yueng as January arrivals. Mowbray welcomed the latest addition to his squad, saying: "Thomas is a young player we've watched for a while and we're delighted to bring him to the club. He's only 19 but has had good experience in the Norwegian league.

"We've had a chance to have a look at him in recent days at Lennoxtown and he's shown up well. He has all the physical attributes and personality to be a success. Thomas has a bright future and will be training with the first-team squad. Like Josh Thompson and Milan Misun, Thomas is a big part of our future plans in defence. We are bringing these talented players to the club in order to ensure the foundations are in place for the coming years."

Even though Rogne is out of contract, his former club Stabaek are entitled to compensation for developing the player.

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