Celtic hail capture of '˜special manager' Brendan Rodgers

Celtic have secured a coup with confirmation Brendan Rodgers has agreed to become manager of the club on a 12-month rolling contract.

Friday, 20th May 2016, 11:14 pm
Updated Saturday, 21st May 2016, 12:22 am
Brendan Rodgers has been announced as the new Celtic manager. Picture: PA

Chief executive Peter Lawwell last night described Rodgers as a “special manager” who he backed to bring “special times” to the club. Rodgers, meanwhile, pledged to help Celtic “make our mark” in Europe again.

The former Liverpool manager succeeds Ronny Deila, who stepped down after two years in charge earlier this month. Rodgers will be officially introduced to reporters at a press conference at Celtic Park on Monday afternoon, after which he will meet supporters at the stadium.

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In a statement last night, the 43-year-old told Celtic fans he “can’t wait to get to work”. Rodgers’ first competitive game as manager will be a Champions League second round qualifier first leg on 12 or 13 July.

“I am absolutely delighted to be named Celtic manager,” Rodgers said. “This is genuinely a huge honour for me. I have followed Celtic all my life and to be given this fantastic opportunity and to be part of such a truly great football club is a dream come true.

“I will give my new role everything I have and do all I can to bring our supporters exciting, entertaining and winning football.

“The club has been in magnificent shape in recent years and has collected silverware regularly during this time. My objective now, of course, is to continue this work, to keep us at the top and again make our mark in Europe.

“I know what a magnificent support Celtic enjoys and I can promise our fans one thing – that I will be doing everything I can to give you a team that you can be proud of and a team that delivers.”

Rodgers’ aim to keep Celtic at the top will be tested by Rangers, who return to the top flight next season for the first time since the 2011-2012 campaign.

The news of the new manager’s appointment came on the eve of the Ibrox side’s attempt to win their first major honour for five years, against Hibs in today’s Scottish Cup final.

Lawwell toasted Rodgers’ arrival, claiming Celtic were desperate to snare “one of the biggest and best names”.

“Brendan is a highly-sought after manager and we are pleased that we have been able to bring such a high-

calibre individual to Celtic,” the chief executive said. “He has a huge and genuine affection for the club. We have appointed a special manager and we are sure he can bring some special times to Celtic.”

Rodgers grew up a Celtic supporter in Carnlough, County Antrim. He also formed a bond with late Celtic legend Tommy Burns, who appointed Rodgers head of Reading’s youth academy in the late 1990s.

He then graduated to a coaching position at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho and has since managed at Watford and Reading. But it was at Swansea, who he helped win promotion into the Premier League, where his stock soared.

Rodgers was appointed Kenny Dalglish’s successor at Liverpool in 2012 and led the Anfield club to second place in 2013-14, just missing out on the title. In recognition of such a memorable season he won the LMA manager of the year award. But he found it tougher going in the two seasons since.

His time at Anfield was brought to an end in October last year when he was sacked and replaced by Jurgen Klopp after a run of one win in nine games, and with Liverpool lying tenth in the league.

But Celtic are thrilled to have landed Rodgers to replace Deila. Chairman Ian Bankier acknowledged the “huge interest” in the post. Celtic have interviewed candidates, including Roy Keane, Malky Mackay and former manager Neil Lennon, but it quickly became clear Rodgers was their preferred option.

“We believe we have chosen the outstanding candidate to take the club forward,” added Bankier.