Brendan Rodgers: I can’t predict how long I’ll be at Celtic

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers, left, and Kieran Tierney share a joke during training. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers, left, and Kieran Tierney share a joke during training. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS
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Brendan Rodgers has revealed his sacking by Liverpool has ensured he will never make any projections about the length of his tenure as Celtic manager.

Sky Sports pundit and former Celtic winger Davie Provan this week expressed doubts over whether Rodgers would remain motivated long enough to remain at the club for their pursuit of a record 10 consecutive league titles and claimed the 44-year-old would be on the short-list of most English Premier League clubs for their next managerial vacancy.

Rodgers remains unbeaten domestically in his first season at Celtic, which is already all but certain to bring them a sixth successive title and sees them resume their quest for a first treble since 2001 when they entertain Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup tomorrow.

Having signed a 12-month rolling contract when he succeeded Ronny Deila in the post last summer, Rodgers insists his experience at Anfield – where he was dismissed in October 2015 just 18 months after almost leading them to the Premier League title – means he will make no pledges about how long he will remain in Glasgow.

“I never worry about that now,” he said. “Listen, when we took over at Liverpool they were eighth. In my second season we finished runners-up. The club wanted to be in the Champions League, they were desperate for it. We scored 54 goals more than we did the previous season, over 101 goals. We reached the Champions League, we were at the top of Europe because of our level of football and I signed a new deal for four years in the June. By September, people were saying I should get the sack. That’s modern football. So, it’s a lovely thing [for Davie] to say, but I never think of things like that any more.

“I will never sit and promise I will be here for 10 years, five years or six months. I just do the very best I can for however long that is. If that’s for the next six months or another two years, let’s see what happens. Modern football can change very, very quickly. You can make all the statements you want. As a manager, you’ve just got to win games. I like to win them in a certain way.

“The minute I’m not wanted here I’ll be gone. I will never sit about at a club that I love getting in the way. If people don’t want me here, I’ll be gone. So I can never promise either way. All I can promise is to fight to give Celtic the best I possibly can. I think we have made a good start and the exciting thing is it’s only a start.

“I love being here and I enjoy my life up here, so let’s see what happens. I can only be what I am – which is super ambitious. But my ambition is for the club. I want us to be the very best we can be in every competition, in every training day, and that is something that is inherent in me. When you are at the club that you love it is a different feeling, you feel an even greater responsibility.”

Rodgers was speaking in a week which saw Celtic announce half-year profits of £21.4 million and a revenue increase of almost 95 per cent, to £61.2m, as a consequence of him leading them back to the Champions League group stage after a two-year absence.

He says it will not change his approach to player recruitment or increase his demands to the club’s board, although he believes it may again be possible for Celtic to pay transfer fees in the region of £6m – still the club record which was set with Chris Sutton’s arrival back in 2000.

“I’ll always be the same,” he added. “I meet the board regularly and speak to [chief executive] Peter Lawwell just about every day. The best time to improve is when you are successful. As a football club you can’t sit and glorify about what you have done, on or off the field. You have to have one eye on today and one on tomorrow. We’ve made a nice start here but there is a whole load for us still to do. That’s the exciting part – because we have only just started.

“I’ll always look to bring the best possible players here and give my reasons why I want to do it. But I won’t bring anyone in for the sake of it. We’ve had players offered here who might sound great in terms of names but they aren’t going to help Celtic. I need players who are coachable, who are hungry and have quality, whether they are experienced or not.

“The model has been to develop and move them on. I just think that will happen naturally. If someone gets offered a load of money then there is a timeline on it. But we need players who want to take Celtic forward. Whether they are a million quid, £6m, £7m or whatever, the club know I will bring that to them. Those figures this week demonstrate a really solid model of management, in a difficult climate.

“There is risk and reward but you have to ensure the risk is worth it. We are very fortunate at Celtic with the intellect of the board.”