Celtic keen to keep Maloney

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Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell has confirmed the SPL champions' intentions to try and keep striker Shaun Maloney at the club.

Talks over a new deal with Maloney stalled when the 23-year-old changed his agent after negotiations originally opened in February.

Maloney's current deal expires at the end of the season, meaning he will be free to sign a pre-contract agreement with another club from January.

Speaking at the Celtic AGM, Lawwell insisted the board will do all they can to keep the Scotland international, but says they will not be held to ransom.

"In every walk of life, people who ask their boss for more money do not always get what they want," he said.

"We are very keen for him to stay and we clearly see him as a part of Celtic's future. But we cannot keep players at any cost.

"We instigated the process in February, Shaun had Mel Stein as his agent at that point and we were getting on well.

"Shaun then changed agents during the process and here we are in October still looking for a deal.

"We are willing and able to talk at any time and let's see how we get on.

"We know what we are doing at the club, over the last three years at the club in my time we have signed or re-signed 41 players and only lost one - Liam Miller.

"There is a process we are going through, but what we do not want to do is get into a position where Shaun feels we are not willing to talk or support him in the process.

"It is a good time to be at Celtic. Financially, we are sound. We have a strong pool of very competitive players playing for the club and, hopefully, Shaun will stay.

"We hope we do not get to the stage where he will leave for nothing in January.

"You cannot measure how close we are to a deal but, hopefully, he will be here."

Meanwhile, Celtic chairman Brian Quinn is delighted with how things have gone on and off the field since he took charge in 1996.

Quinn added: "On the financial side and also on the football side, I am as comfortable as I have been since I joined this club.

"The board, the management and the football team is the spine of the company and what you have you to try and do is to get those things working harmoniously and working together and I have never seen it better.

"I have been at Celtic as a director for 10-and-a-half years and it may sound complacent or presumptuous, but all I say to you is that the spine is in place and we are working hard and hope we can continue to progress the company.

"Gordon (Strachan) has been extraordinary, he is a very resilient person.

"He said publicly that losing to Artmedia Bratislava in the Champions League qualifiers last season was a bit of a shock to his system.

"But, to his absolute credit, he gathered himself up and applied himself to the job.

"He has done a remarkable job and is looking forward in a very positive fashion to the rest of the season."