First Touch

Rodgers’ Rules Will Ultimately Benefit Celtic

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers owes loanee striker Adam Idah for keeping the ship afloat—at least for now.

The Ireland international’s two goals from the spot at Easter Road Wednesday night saved the Hoops from “suffering” a second consecutive draw and maintained their position, on paper at least, at the top of the table, though their rivals Rangers still have a match in hand.

celtic manager brendan rodgers

The Full Scottish

Rodgers’ men needed Idah’s penalties to sneak past a very game Hibs side on a night that was reminiscent of another, in 2010, that also kept a Celtic manager in situ. In that match more than 13 years ago, at Kilmarnock, a Hoops side under then-manager Neil Lennon fell behind 3-0 before coming back to earn a 3-3 draw (thanks in part to Anthony Stokes, no less).

Lennon, on the hot seat entering the match, retained his position and led the team to the first league title in what would become nine in a row. That Lennon is also blamed, by some, for “stopping the 10” is what we in the writing trade call “irony.”

Anyway. We were happy for Lennon—and Celtic—then, and we are happy for Rodgers—and the club—now. In some quarters, Rodgers’ return has been called “lazy” and/or “uninspired,” but we’re not in that camp. We believed last summer that Rodgers was the best man to take charge at Parkhead following the departure of Ange Postecoglou to Spurs and we still believe it now.

Yes, the football has, at times, lacked flare and the side seems to have lost the cutting edge they developed under Postecoglou. But Rodgers, at least in our opinion, has the wits to outmaneuver his opposite numbers in Scotland, and the fortitude to do something the Aussie was unable achieve—make Celtic relevant again in Europe.

From the outside looking in, the players seem to like and respect the Irishman. Certainly, captain Callum McGregor is a fan.

True, we too were among the significant segment of the Celtic support angered and disappointed by the way Rodgers left the first time, in 2019. However, time heals all wounds and all is forgiven.

What’s different this time around is that Rodgers has a legitimate challenger in Rangers. In his first tenure at Celtic, ‘Gers were fresh out of administration and relegation to Scotland’s lower leagues. 

The Ibrox club were only just recovering and beginning the process of rebuilding their squad. The club weren’t helped by several mistakes in hiring a succession of managers not up to the task.

Now, though, Rangers have arguably their best squad in nearly two decades. The manager, Phillipe Clement, is no slouch, and has a proven track record of success in other leagues.

Rodgers knows this, telling the press earlier this week that he never expected to “win the league by 10 or 20 points.” Good thing, that, because he won’t.

He and Clement, and their respective squads, will battle down to the wire. It will be great fun for the neutrals, if not for the supporters of the two rivals. Time will tell, but we remain faithful in Rodgers.

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