BRENDAN RODGERS has warned Torino that Celtic are not prepared to sell star stopper Jozo Simunovic.

The Croatian almost signed with the Serie A outfit during the summer only to fail to agree terms but they are expected to come back in next month for a second swoop.

Already this season Simunovic has helped the Hoops keep NINE clean sheets, including last night’s 1-0 win over Partick Thistle at Parkhead.

And speaking after the game, the Celtic boss warned the imposing centre-half remains a big part of his Hoops greenprint into the second half of the season and beyond.

Read more: Celtic 1 Partick Thistle 0: Hoops cruise into 14-point lead

“I think they have probably seen how well he’s been doing,” said Rodgers.

“He’s only a boy really at 22 years of age and developing very, very well. He’s got all the attributes and still has improvements to make of course, but if you’re a top club you would want someone like him.

“He’s very much a part of what we’re building here.”

It wasn’t quite Simunovic’s finest performance in green and white last night as he and radically-altered starting XI looked far from their best against a plucky Jags side that quite easily could have taken something from this encounter.

Rodgers made eight changes to the side that beat Dundee 2-1 on Saturday, with the most high-profile inclusion being 18-year-old Calvin Miller.

Read more: Celtic 1 Partick Thistle 0: Hoops cruise into 14-point lead

The academy kid was thrown in for his competitive debut at left-back and his manager was full of praise for a player he reckons has a big future in the game.

“For 18-years of age, a young player that’s just moved position I thought he did very well in his first game. It was a big positive for us,” said Rodgers.

“He’s a kid I’ve been impressed with as he really wants to learn, develop.

“I did a similar thing with Ryan Bertrand when I was at Chelsea. We took him in from Gillingham to Chelsea and he came in as a left-winger and in the same team was Scott Sinclair, who was a striker. I moved Scotty wide and moved Ryan to left-back and he went on to play with England and won the Champions League with Chelsea and is now at Southampton and he’s an outstanding player.

“I see similar sort of traits in Calvin and where he can do that one position behind but he’s only 18 so he needs time to learn that position and role but he’s got some outstanding qualities and can offer the club something going forward.”

The three points saw Celtic extend their unbeaten domestic run and take their lead at the top of the table to 14 points.

It is an achievement that Rodgers is rightly impressed by, even if the nature of their latest triumph was on the understated side.

He said: “It’s not easy but I think you have to credit the players in terms of how they go from game to game to game.

Read more: Celtic 1 Partick Thistle 0: Hoops cruise into 14-point lead

“I think that was the 41st game we’ve had which is a phenomenal amount. To not slip up domestically really shows a real persistence and resistance that’s in the team and energy to keep going.

“We play in a way that has a systematic approach. If one players comes in he understands his function in the team.

“There’s no way I can play all the players in every game. They have international games on top of that so you just can’t do it.

“At times you’re going to use a wee bit of fluency but you see other characteristics in the team. There’s spells of great football, great possession, creating chances.

“We should have scored more goals to make it calmer but still having that mentality to win is very, very important.”