Brendan Rodgers has reportedly signed a 12-month rolling contract with the Scottish League champions Celtic. He would be replacing Ronny Deila, the man who guided them to their fifth successive Scottish League title with a fifteen-point gap over second-placed Aberdeen.
Rodgers appointment ironically coincides with Rangers’ promotion to the Scottish top flight after being put through the lower divisions due to financial mishaps.
Rodgers appointment has drawn mixed reactions, as Celtic fans direly hope for a sharp turn-around in their Champions League fortunes. They last tasted Champions League Football in 2013-2014 and for the past two years have been knocked out in their third qualifying round, prior to the group stages.
They endured a horror 2013-2014 Champions League group outing, after being drawn in a fierce group with Ajax, AC Milan and Barcelona and they slumped to their worst Champions League defeat at Camp Nou by a 6-1 scoreline.
Though for the past three seasons they have enjoyed relatively easy league competition in the absence of their fierce Glasgow rivals Rangers, this season might be somewhat different with a different manager at the helm.
Former Celtic defender Gary Gillespie sounded confident in a recent interview that Rodgers perhaps might be the man to take them to the group stages and perhaps a yard farther.
“I know how hard it is for Celtic to get through the Champions League qualifiers and get into the group stages. But if anyone can get them through that it is Brendan,” he told the Evening Times.
Despite enduring a tough 2014-2015 season at Anfield which pretty much heralded his death-knell at the club, considering his superior experience at managing top clubs and taking Liverpool though to the Champions League, it would not be much of a concern for him to take Celtic to another domestic title next season. He would however find it harder than Deila.
Recent reports also seem to indicate he might re-unite with Hal-Robson Kanu, the Reading forward who has worked with Rodgers when he was at Berkshire. He has been highly impressive for Wales and would be out of contract at the end of this season.
Celtic definitely lacks the attacking threat and might need Kanu to provide some versatility, apart from the likes of Carlton Cole and Stephen Scepovic.
Rodgers has promised to bring ‘attacking’ and ‘entertainment’ football to Celtic and even their Chief Executive Peter Lawwell has described him as ‘a special manager’. Expectations should be high from Rodgers and he might be the man to change their Champions League fortunes as well.
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