Andrew Smith: Brendan Rodgers should be judged on what he achieved at Celtic

The collective loss of reason from the Celtic support over Brendan Rodgers’ flight from their club, ultimately, has been as unedifying as the timing and haste with which the Irishman winged it to Leicester City. Moreover, the club’s followers have demonstrated precisely the same egotistical traits they would damn Rodgers for over the scenario that unfolded last week.

'Brendan Rodgers should be judged on what he gave to Celtic across two and three-quarter years'. Pic: SNS/Alan Harvey
'Brendan Rodgers should be judged on what he gave to Celtic across two and three-quarter years'. Pic: SNS/Alan Harvey

Of course, he gilded the lily over his affinity with Celtic. He is a footballing impresario, that is what he does. The mob has no mind, runs the phrase. It certainly seems to apply over the depth of shock and sense of betrayal resulting from the reality that a nakedly ambitious coach would walk at the precise moment he felt best served his ability to make a success of the next post he desired to take up. Crucially, though, without a personal pull to Celtic, Rodgers would never have given a second thought to slumming it in the relative footballing backwater of Scottish football.

He should be judged on what he gave to Celtic across two and three-quarter years; which was a domination of the Scottish game with seven straight trophy triumphs that has never been witnessed before, and is unlikely to be witnessed ever again. It is possible to cringe at Rodgers now saying he would hope to manage Celtic again in ten years, when all the hurt and anger has long subsided, but it should be noted that his actions speak of not everything he said simply being honeyed words.

Sign up to our Football newsletter

The 46-year-old has always maintained he is not driven by trophy hauls and records. He proved that in giving up on the possibility of becoming the first manager in world football to preside over a treble treble. It hardly speaks of a man so utterly vainglorious he needed his ego constantly stroked.

The Celtic support’s belief that any true fan of their club would be sustained by playing teams with a 30th of their budget in front of 6,000 supporters at least once a month suggests, frankly, a level of dimwittery that makes you wonder if they know their history.

The draw of the bigger playground and bigger budgets down south has always been too much to resist – long before the differentials were their current astronomical levels.

Rodgers’ service was essentially longer than that of Charlie Nicholas before he moved to Arsenal in 1983, and no-one is seriously questioning the striker’s regard for his boyhood club. In time, Kieran Tierney will inevitably make the switch, and only the utterly stupid would dare doubt his cast-iron Celtic credentials.

However, Rodgers will probably never have his exploits appreciated by the denizens of the east end as would have been the case if he had slipped away in the summer with a faultless record intact. A Celtic man with the intelligence to provide an analytical assessment of that is John Kennedy, promoted to assistant to interim Neil Lennon in the aftermath of Rodgers’ departure.

“Time sometimes heals,” he said of the possibility of the Celtic faithful eventually forgiving Rodgers. “Sometimes people hold things, depending on how they feel but it becomes an individual thing for people out there, whoever they may be. In time they may come round but from my perspective I can only give which is that he did a terrific job here. He was great for me, he was great for the club. But it is football and things move on.

“He has made the decision to move on and everyone at the club has to deal with that. You look around here, at the size of the club and what is behind it. The manager is a massive part of that but you move on. Neil has come in and I don’t see much changing .”