“It just seems a little strange,” Rodgers on Fir Park booing

Brendan Rodgers has admitted that it was strange that he was booed at the weekend for taking off Tomoki Iwata at Fir Park. The boss decided he had to shake it up in the midfield area on Sunday afternoon as his side chased a winning goal deep into the match. Despite Iwata having a good, steady game up until that point, he decided to hook the Japanese star for the more attacking Paulo Bernardo.

Bernardo has proven he can get a goal during his loan spell in Scottish football and the Irishman thought it would be best dropping Callum McGregor back into the anchor role in front of Cameron Carter-Vickers and and Liam Scales as we looked to gain the lead over Motherwell. A large section of the away support – which was considerable – where somewhat at odds with the manager’s thinking and made their feelings known as Tomoki left the side of the field.

Rodgers has revealed he found it peculiar that he would be booed for swapping a defensive midfielder for an offensive one when the team were in he heat of battle and chasing an elusive winner.

Speaking at his media conference this afternoon, the 51-year-old said of the incident: “It’s very important, especially when you get booed for taking off a defender and putting on an attacker. That seemed strange. The game now, going into 90-plus minutes, you’re talking 95 or 100 minute games now, so your bench is very important. Having the depth to bring players on and make an impact was very, very important.”

The boss was asked directly how he felt when the changes that he made saw the breakthrough come, however, he wasn’t interested in playing top trumps with the supporters, as he asserted: “It doesn’t really matter to me. It’s more for the player coming on and for the team. I think it’s a negative reaction that I don’t quite understand. Your 1-1 in the game, you take off a defensive midfielder and put on an attacking player who has scored goals this season and you get booed.

It just seems a little strange, but thankfully the players’ mentality on the pitch was superb. They kept going and they kept fighting and all the great work that they did, especially in the second-half in terms of tiring the opponent out, it led to the couple of goals at the end.”

In fairness to Rodgers it does seem a little odd that supporters should decry a positive change. Having said that, the frustrations probably came from the fact that Iwata had been better than both O’Riley and McGregor – who many have called for to be removed at times due to his poor form of late – and who seem to be Rodgers’ untouchables in this team. Nevertheless, the team were galvanised and together towards the end and that aided with the changes Brendan made ensured a good ending to another tough game.

We move on to the next challenge now…

Paul Gillespie

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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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