Brendan Rodgers has found his "Celtic hat", negotiates tricky Glasgow Derby question
In news that will annoy plenty of supporters, Brendan Rodgers has attempted to answer a loaded question with his “Celtic hat on”.
Famously, Rodgers dropped his Celtic hat when he went to manage Leicester City in 2019. The Bhoys were on the cusp of a third consecutive treble. We’ve been over this several times; to some, it’s become understandable. To others, it’s an act of treachery that won’t be forgiven.
There’s another interesting wrinkle here, though. Rodgers coached Rangers manager Steven Gerrard at Liverpool, where he was so close to winning a Premier League title [Transfermarkt]. Gerrard will have learnt a great deal from his former manager, who will undoubtedly have helped the Anfield legend to make his first steps in coaching.
Asked whether Rodgers was pleased for the Rangers boss, the former Celtic gaffer said [Sky Sports]:
“That’s very difficult for me to say with my Celtic hat on. But listen, Rangers deserve to win the league this year. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.
“Consistently, they’ve been the best team in the league. They’re probably disappointed with the cups and how that has went. But the challenge for them this year was to win the league, and stop Celtic winning their tenth title. They’ve done that. So Steven, I’m sure, will look to build on that in the summer.”
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It’s a tricky question to pose to the Leicester City boss. His relationship with Steven Gerrard is well-established, eventually taking on and beating his protégé when the two met in opposing dugouts.
You have to imagine that if it was any other club in world football, Brendan Rodgers would be jumping for joy about Gerrard’s achievements. It isn’t any other club Gerrard is managing though, it’s the arch-rival of the club that rebuilt the former Swansea and Watford boss’ reputation.
So, yeah, tricky one. Honestly, it’d be hard to answer that poser diplomatically, given the context. As sacrilegious as it might be, I’d argue that Rodgers actually did quite well here. You could even argue that he’s taken a “cheeky dig” at the failures of the Ibrox side in cup competitions, but it’s maybe a bit of a stretch.
Gerrard’s own managerial future is less certain. Rodgers talks about what the Rangers boss will want to do next season, but there will certainly be some interesting vacancies by the time the summer rolls around.
Celtic, meanwhile, have it all to do on Sunday. If the Bhoys can put a dent in Rangers’ title party and end their unbeaten streak, it’d be a mildly satisfying conclusion to a torrid season.