“Embrace it, go and enjoy it and bring your everything,” Brendan’s title message to players

Brendan Rodgers has spoken to Gerry McCulloch on Celtic TV, with the interview currently available to subscribers. So for those who don’t have a Celtic TV subscription, here’s every word spoken by the Celtic manager as he looks forward to the business end of the season starting at Livingston on Easter Sunday.

Callum McGregor – Photo Vagelis Georgariou
Brendan Rodgers and Reo Hatate (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

McCulloch talked about the imminent return after injury of Callum McGregor alongside Reo Hatate and the fit-again Cameron Carter-Vickers will all three being available for Livingston this weekend. he mentioned their experience being three key players with plenty of experience in winning trophies and the trio’s return being a key factor for Celtic in the title race.

“We’ve been getting players back, which is really good and fingers crossed, by the end of this international period. they’ll all come back and we’re all ready for a really exciting run-in,” the Celtic manager said.

Cameron Carter-Vickers. Photo GreigCowie Sportsphoto/APL

“It’s great if they are available and each one is obviously different. But when they have that experience, know-how and how to deal with it, then that an be key. And the three players you mentioned there are obviously hugely influential players for the team. So it will be great to have them back and available.”

On Livingston playing to their strengths as a big, strong physical team, Rodgers was asked if he was expecting more of the same from David Martingale’s side after their decent performance in the Scottish Cup tie at Celtic Park where Livingston managed to score twice. McCulloch asked if unlike the supporters, minds inside the building at Lennoxtown are not drifting a week further down the line towards the Glasgow Derby at Ibrox.

Matt O’Riley. Photo Kirk O’Rourke/Shutterstock

“I think every game in this division can be a difficult game but it is how you perform and our focus will be very much on ourselves. We played Livingston only recently there and attacking-wise we were very good in the game but we gave too much away for my liking so our mentality and focus is purely on Livingston at the weekend.

“To go and play at the level of game that we want to play in and ensure that we don’t give so much up in terms of opportunities and space and if we can do that then we can have a very good day, hopefully.

On Livingston having a broadly similar approach to the recent game at Celtic Park, Brendan wouldn’t be surprised at all, but the focus is on how his own team plays.


“They may well do, listen every game is different and obviously with them being at home and on the astro-turf pitch, they’re maybe more accustomed to it. But whatever team David (Martindale) puts out they are normally battling and working very, very hard. And we saw that, they are a big physical team that play to their strengths and can play to their strengths well.

“Really we have to control our game. Our focus is very much on playing on our rhythm, in our way and when we can do that we’ll give the opposition more issues and more to think about.”

Paulo Bernardo. Photo Andrew Milligan

With McCulloch asking about experienced course and distance title winners like McGregor, Hatate and CCV earlier in his interview, he now asked about the less experienced players such as Paulo Bernardo and Luis Palma (the two featured in the accompanying footage) who will be experiencing a title run-in for the first time. How will they handle it and what will be the manager’s advice to these players?

Luis Palma  (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

“I think not to overthink it. The storyline, the build-up and the stories around it can dramatise it. But for me the message is to go and play the game that we want to play and to think about the performance. The results will be the outcome of course but in order to get that outcome we need to perform well. So that really is the message around personalty, playing with that confidence, that hard work and not actually changing too much.

“I think for us, whenever we’ve ben good this season – we’ve been very good in games but not been as consistent as we want to be, but let’s take the opportunity now in this final period of this last couple of months. And we can finish off having a fantastic season. Embrace it, go and enjoy it and bring your everything into each and every game.”

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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