Former Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers has opened up on the Bhoys’ 2016 defeat to Lincoln Red Imps.
Although the Hoops got the job done in the second leg, it was a shocking result that sent shockwaves through Europe. Lee Casciaro, a police officer, “outfoxed” Efe Ambrose to seal possibly the worst result in Celtic’s history [BBC]. Starring the spine of a team who went on to achieve domestic immortality with an Invincible Treble, the result still stands out in the record of Rodgers’ Celtic spell.
Thankfully, Celtic got through that tie on aggregate. However, it was a mystifying result that had Rodgers feeling the pressure and expectations of the supporters. For all we’ve been called “entitled” over the years, it’s fair to say we had every right to question losing to a Gibraltan side.
Speaking on The Robbie Fowler Podcast, Rodgers said:
“We had a really good pre-season, and then we were drawn [Red Imps] in the Champions League.
“Without being arrogant, I know over the two games we would get through. But that night, I knew that… ‘right, Christ’.
“I walked over to applaud the Celtic supporters for coming and, erm… they weren’t happy. Even though it was pre-season, and even though they could probably see there was a huge demand.
“I remember getting in the bus and leaving the ground and there was the support around the bus that weren’t happy.
“I thought, “wow, right, you’ve got to be good here”. There’s no grace, you’ve got to be good in every game.”
More odd, contradictory stuff from former Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers
It’s odd that Rodgers was surprised by the level of expectation against a semi-professional side from Gibraltar.
Of course supporters were going to be unforgiving. It was beyond embarrassing at the time, and still rankles now to a degree. Yet, Rodgers, he of the Danny McGain anecdote [Talking Baws] and naming his son after Anton Rogan didn’t realise that losing to Lincoln Red Imps would be a big deal.
Surely a Celtic supporter would know you’ve “got to be good in every game”? I think if anyone reading was given the Celtic job tomorrow, and we were drawn against Annan Athletic in the Cup the next day, they’d realise they can’t lose that game. This goes doubly if you’re reading this, and you’re ex-Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe. If so, get your skates on.
Yes, he brought us incredible success, and whether you can sympathise with his leaving or not, you’ll agree he was a fantastic Celtic manager.
But he’s one heck of a strange guy.