‘Treated like a novice’ – Rogers hits out at critics

Daily News
9 Min Read
‘Treated like a novice’ – Rogers hits out at critics

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers hit back at critics who he accused of treating him “like a novice” as he hailed the mentality of his team following a season-defining victory over Rangers.

A 2-1 Parkhead triumph moved Celtic six points and seven goals clear of their rivals with two cinch Premiership matches left.

The champions had lost a seven-point lead over Rangers earlier in the season, but have now moved within a point of glory ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Kilmarnock, live on Sky Sports.

By his own admission, Rodgers has had a challenging first season back at Celtic Park, having returned to the job five years on from departing following a trophy-laden spell, with injuries to key players such as Cameron Carter-Vickers, Reo Hatate, Callum McGregor and Daizen Maeda affecting performances.

The low point was back-to-back league defeats by Hearts and Kilmarnock in December, which prompted former Celtic striker Chris Sutton to argue that Rodgers was “going through the motions”.

‘I have been treated like a novice’

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MAY 11: Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers at full time during a cinch Premiership match between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic Park, on May 11, 2024, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Image: Rodgers at full time after Celtic’s win against Rangers

“From a professional perspective there will be doubt,” the 51-year-old said after his 13th victory in 17 games against Rangers.

“From a personal perspective, I am surprised in a way where I heard somebody saying ‘Brendan Rodgers was going through the motions’ earlier in the season.

“Now, I get to work between half seven and eight o’clock every day of my life. I leave the training ground between half six and seven o’clock at night. And then when I get home, I have my dinner and probably flip on the computer and watch more football.

“Now, if that’s going through the motions, I want to know what every other manager is doing.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

All of our pundits thought John Lundstram deserved a red for his rash challenge apart from Kenny Miller, who continued to argue his corner! 

“So, from a personal level, I have been treated like a novice since I’ve come back here. Like it’s my first job.

“However, my principle objective is to make sure Celtic win. Part of that is a part of the criticism and I understand that.

“But it’s the mentality of the team that is most important to me, and that mentality you can see from where we were, with injuries, how we progressed, how we stayed unified and together, and how we then get to this point where we are nearly crossing the finishing line.

“And we don’t just want to cross it, we want to sprint over it. We have two games to go, plus a final, and that is our mentality.”

Rodgers: We’re nearly there

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers on Sky Sports:

“It is very significant, we’re nearly there now. A fantastic win for us.

“I thought up until the penalty we were very good. The start of the game, the energy, the football and the speed was outstanding.

“We get two goals in front and we switch off, we lose our concentration and they get back into the tie.

“We get going again second half. We miss the penalty and that takes a bit of energy out of our game then we have other chances we don’t take and when it’s 2-1 towards the end of the game of course there’s a bit of tension.

“Celtic supporters all around the world understand Celtic vs Rangers is all about winning and the guys have won today and I’m really proud of them.

“It is there for us now. We have to go and win it. We can see the finish line we just have to get over it. The focus is on recovery and we got there on Wednesday and look to finish the job.”

‘It’s a great day for the supporters’

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers was unhappy with his team’s concentration in the Old Firm despite their win over Rangers

Celtic started the stronger side and had more chances in an open encounter before Matt O’Riley sparked a manic finale to the first half by driving home the opener.

Rangers midfielder John Lundstram soon put through his own net and was sent off for a foul on Alistair Johnston after Cyriel Dessers had pulled a goal back.

O’Riley saw a second-half penalty saved by Jack Butland as Celtic struggled to see off the challenge of the 10 players before a nervy finale.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Matt O’Riley and James Forrest reflect on Celtic’s 2-1 win over Rangers in the Scottish Premiership

But the final whistle sparked celebrations from the home supporters and the title could even be wrapped up on Tuesday, if Rangers fail to beat Dundee, live on Sky Sports.

Rodgers said: “It’s a massive win and a great day for the supporters. But we’ll recover and hopefully finish the job off on Wednesday.

“I was really pleased up until we missed the penalty. Our energy, speed and tempo in the game – as well as the quality of our football – was very good.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Celtic’s Callum McGregor admits his side are closing in on the title after their 2-1 win over Rangers in the Scottish Premiership

“At 11 vs 10, as we’ve been a few times this season, I don’t like it. We’re not good at it. There shouldn’t be that tension at the end of a game when you have so much control. That’s about being clinical.

“It was a hot day and the players gave everything. But at 2-1, anything can happen against 10 or nine men. There were long balls into the box but we stood up to it magnificently.

“Come the end, it was a a great three points for us.”

‘A great day for Celtic’

Celtic midfielder Matt O’Riley told Sky Sports:

“We’re six points clear. We started the game well and had a few chances. I practised penalties yesterday and I was probably in two minds about it.”

James Forrest told Sky Sports:

“A great day. Even when Rangers had 11 men I thought we were really dominant. When they went down to 10, we just didn’t take our chances.”

What’s next?

Celtic are away to Kilmarnock on Wednesday night, live on Sky Sports, requiring just a point to clinch the title. Kick-off 7.30pm.

Book Fury vs Usyk on Sky Sports Box Office

Fury vs Usyk

It’s one of the biggest sporting events in a generation. Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk collide for the undisputed world heavyweight title on Saturday May 18, live on Sky Sports Box Office. Book now.

Share This Article
Leave a comment