Brendan Rodgers insists he won’t get bored of vision and work ethic

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers shows off the League Cup to the fans. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers shows off the League Cup to the fans. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS
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If history is indeed written by the victors, then Brendan Rodgers already appears assured of a special chapter in the annals of Scottish football.

With his current direction of travel as Celtic manager, he is passing domestic landmarks at a breathless pace, which makes comparisons with his predecessors difficult to 
quantify.

The first man since Jock Stein to win four consecutive domestic trophies at the helm of the club, Rodgers wants the standards he is setting at the Scottish champions to carry a resonance which lasts long after his tenure comes to 
an end.

He remains dismissive of suggestions he will ever become bored of the relentless level of success he enjoys at Celtic, which is set against a backdrop of increasing scepticism, mostly from English-based observers of the former Liverpool manager’s career, that the overall standard of Scottish football diminishes his achievements.

Rodgers refuses to concern himself with those perceptions. Instead, he insists his focus will remain on ensuring the players currently under his command extend an era of domination which will be remembered with awe many years from now.

“I’ll always have a cause for which the players stay hungry to fight for,” said Rodgers as he reflected on Sunday’s 
Betfred Cup final win over Motherwell.

“So whenever we move on and pass the ball to someone else at Celtic, we’ve left a legacy that will echo way beyond our time here. For that, the actions of today mean you have to win.

“I’ve told the players we are limited in our time here. This is a really special football club, so we have a responsibility to honour the great history of Celtic, what they’ve won before and add to it while we are here.

“So those are the messages we give to the players emotionally, to ensure that every game, every cup final, we fight for our lives. When we are long gone, it will be spoken about – so 
create it while you’re here.”

Already on a record run of 65 unbeaten domestic fixtures, which encompassed last season’s unprecedented “Invincible” treble, few would bet against Rodgers becoming the first manager to win back-to-back clean sweeps of all three pieces of major Scottish 
silverware.

Even that would probably only earn him negligible credit in the eyes of those pundits who contrast Celtic’s domestic domination with their experiences in the group stage of the Champions League where they have now suffered several heavy and chastening defeats.

Rodgers defiantly maintains that is a non-issue for him, instead underlining once again the high degree of personal and professional satisfaction his move to Celtic has given him. He said: “I don’t really think about that other stuff, to be honest.

“This is my fifth job as a manager now. I always say happiness and energy are the two things you need. There’s always a challenge at Celtic and there always will be, whoever is in charge here.

“For me, I’m very happy in my professional life. I’m developing players, I love that side of the game. I have a look at England now and I see how a manager can very quickly be out of his job and maybe not have the time to improve players.

“That’s my life, that’s what I’ve always done. I enjoy that side of it but I also enjoy the pressure of managing a big club. It feels natural for me to do that and Celtic’s a huge club.

“It’s one where I’m happy, I’ve got an energy. I’m 44 so I’ve got a long way to go but I don’t even think of that, as long as I’m working well with the club and the club believe in me, the supporters believe in me, then I’m obviously very happy to be here.

“I tend now, with experience, to listen less and read less [about what is said about me]. Everyone has an opinion now and, for me, as long as I’m happy that’s all that matters to me.

“I managed Swansea City in the Premier League, I loved it, enjoyed it, got a promotion with them, amazing. I worked at one of the great clubs in Liverpool and went closer than anyone to a title in the Premier League.

“So I’ve been at that level. I’m now up here and genuinely love my life. What people think doesn’t really concern me to be honest. I know the demands of Celtic, I know the pressures and my challenge is to dominate domestically and qualify for the Champions League.

“Now we’re qualifying for Champions League, we’re expected to take on these super clubs which is so, so tough. I’ll always put myself out there to challenge that and that’s how I’ve always been. I’ve always been optimistic for the club.

“It’s very simple really – you keep it simple and you do the work. There’s no rocket 
science in it. You work hard, you find a cause to fight for and you ensure that everyone is pulling in the same direction for that. When I came in there was a vision that I was able to bring in, that we have to be one club in order to achieve it. So far for these first 18 months, it’s been special.”