Bullish Brendan Rodgers blasts Celtic novice comments after downing Rangers - 'what is every manager doing if I am going through motions'

Northern Irishman hits back at Sutton’s claims as his team stand on brink of title

Brendan Rodgers chose one of his finest hours to respond to an accusation from former Celtic striker Chris Sutton that he was going through the motions in his second spell at Parkhead.

The manager had just watched his team all but seal their third successive title – and the first under him since 2018 – after beating Rangers 2-1 at Parkhead. Celtic are now six points ahead of their rivals at the top and can secure the title with a point against Kilmarnock on Wednesday, although it might already be done and dusted if Rangers slip up against Dundee at Ibrox 24 hours earlier.

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Rodgers hailed a “significant win” and acknowledged that Celtic are now “in a really good place”. But he railed against the portrayal of him as a “novice” following his return to Scotland, despite a record of success that had already included successive trebles and a season where they were unbeaten in the league. He also won an FA Cup in England with Leicester City.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers celebrates his side going 2-0 ahead against Rangers.Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers celebrates his side going 2-0 ahead against Rangers.
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers celebrates his side going 2-0 ahead against Rangers.

He felt justified to return to something Sutton had said in December after Celtic suffered back-to-back league defeats against Kilmarnock and Hearts. The striker-turned pundit, who was working for Sky Sports at Celtic Park on Saturday, had stated that it was a “fair argument to suggest Brendan Rodgers has been going through the motions this season”.

Rodgers has clearly been bristling at this accusation and referenced the after being asked about people questioning his motivation after returning to the club last summer. “I suppose it is part of the game,” said Rodgers. “From a professional perspective of course there will be doubt. From a personal perspective I was surprised in a way that I heard somebody say about ‘Brendan Rodgers going through the motions’ earlier on in the season.

“I get to work between half seven and eight o’clock every day of my life. I leave the training ground between half six and seven o’clock at night. And when I get home I have my dinner and probably flip on the computer and look at more football. If that is going through the motions I want to know what every other manager is doing. Because what is every other manager doing if I am ‘going through the motions’.

“From a personal level I have been treated like a novice since I came back here, like it’s my first job. However, my principal objective is to make sure Celtic win. Part of that is the criticism and I understand that but it’s the mentality of the team that is the most important thing and you can see that mentality from where we were with injuries, how we have progressed, how we have stayed unified, how we stayed together and how we then get to this point where we are nearly crossing the finishing line. And we don’t just want to cross it we want to sprint over it. We have two games to go plus a final and that is our mentality.”

As well as setting up Celtic for another title, the win over Rangers, who had John Lundstram sent off just before half time, was Rodgers’ 150th victory as Celtic manager. “I am loving it,” he said. “Not many people get the chance to come back so I am very privileged to come back. What I did the first time, I want to build on that. I love the football club, I love the life. But there is a lot more or us to achieve here at Celtic. Hopefully there can be another 150 wins. That’s the plan.”



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