Brendan Rodgers has shrugged off Craig Bellamy’s assessment of his achievements as Celtic manager and has insisted he does not view his tenure at the club as a vehicle to eventually return to the English Premier League.
Bellamy, who spent a brief loan spell at Celtic in 2005, caused a stir this week when he claimed Rodgers’ success at the helm of the Scottish champions carries no weight south of the border.
According to Bellamy, former Liverpool boss Rodgers will not attract interest in his services from leading English clubs, regardless of how many trophies he wins at Celtic.
But Rodgers, who earlier this year signed a new contract with Celtic which runs until 2021, has responded by stressing how content he is to remain in Scotland.
“I am not here to win titles for my own CV or to get a job in England,” he said. “I am here to do a job at Celtic. I love life in Scotland, first and foremost. I love the city of Glasgow.
“It has been great for me for the last 15 months or so. Of course the football has gone well and that is why we are here, we are here to win. I love that aspect of it and that is my only concern.
“I am not here to boost a CV – I am here because of Celtic. It is a club I love. I have really loved the life here, I love being here, I love the challenge of trying to develop the football club to a standard or a level that hopefully we can sustain and dedicate that excellence to.
“I have enough challenges and worries here to look forward to that are really exciting – whether that initiates a job elsewhere, I am not even worried about that.
“I am not in a rush anymore – this is my fifth job and I started my career in management in my mid-30s and now I am 44. So in less than ten years in management, I have had five jobs. So I was in a rush for probably the first few years, trying to get to the top, trying to get to Liverpool and blah blah blah, but I don’t really sense that anymore. My life has always been about developing players – if we can win trophies along the way then great.
“I respect Craig, he is very passionate about his life, very passionate about his football. Seeing some of his comments, I am not sure it is meant in that way but if it is, then okay. I am not here to worry about my next job, my only worry is Celtic and that is what I am paid to do.”
Rodgers hopes to extend Celtic’s unbeaten domestic run under his guidance to 57 matches when they face Rangers at Ibrox tomorrow in the first Old Firm game of the season. He confirmed defender Jozo Simunovic and striker Moussa Dembele are fit and available for selection.
“Jozo’s fine, he had a good hard training session this morning,” said Rodgers. “He’s all good and ready for Saturday. Moussa’s ready too. He’s in a good place now, having worked hard over the course of the week. He had a lighter session today and will train with the squad again tomorrow and will be available.”