The Northern Irishman was speaking at his first press conference since leaving Parkhead to return to management in the English Premier League.
Though he’d won seven successive trophies and achieved a 69-game unbeaten domestic run, Celtic fans have quickly turned against their former boss. A banner at Tynecastle on Wednesday night read: “You traded immortality for mediocrity. Never a Celtic, always a fraud.” Fans were also filmed singing “I hope you die in your sleep Brendan Rodgers” in an Edinburgh pub.
Rodgers says he understands the anger of the fans, though he wished to reiterate his love for the Glasgow club, saying that if it was purely an emotional decision he’d have spent the rest of his career with them.
He said: “Well it was a very, very difficult decision. If I was making this decision with my heart, I’d be at Celtic all my life. It all happened very quickly. I was presented with an opportunity, and of course emotionally I have to take all of that out.
“After almost three years at Celtic, after all we had achieved on and off the pitch, that it was time to move on to my next challenge. I’ve had opportunities to move, but this was an opportunity I felt was too good to turn down.
“Celtic are a huge club. But, it’s not the case of whether it’s bigger, it’s about coming to the Premier League. The challenge of coming in and working against top players and top coaches. That was the real draw.”