Rodgers admits mistake when leaving former club and his only Celtic regret

THE FORMER CELTIC MANAGER was perhaps as relieved as he was pleased – he is still a supporter right? – that Neil Lennon and John Kennedy’s team beat Hibs 2-0 at Easter Road yesterday.

This was a ground where Rodgers never managed a win as Celtic manager and there is every reason to speculate that had he not bolted from the club he supported all his life at the start of this week, then Celtic could well have fallen at the quarter final stages in the Scottish Cup.

It was Lennon and Kennedy who played the experienced Lustig instead of the on-loan Toljan. It was those two who started with Burke and Edouard. And it was those two who swapped things around when Hibs were denying Celtic space in the wide areas. French Eddie went from No.10 to play up top, Burke started as the No.9 and moved over to the right wing and of course Jamesy Forrest moved inside to play as the No.10 – a Neil Lennon tactic of old.

And it worked.

With the win at Tynecastle that removes one of the major banana skins remaining on the road to 8IAR and now the Scottish Cup win at Easter Road, Rodgers – who lost his first match in charge of Leicester today at Watford – reckons that Celtic have progressed in a perfectly satisfactory manner with the new management team and it’s now time for our supporters to move on.

And he’s probably right. It is and it always has been Celtic first, Celtic last and Celtic Overall for the support and that means 100% focus on supporting Neil Lennon, John Kennedy and everyone else at the club as we target 3×3….

“There was obviously a lot of noise around but I don’t tend to suffer so much with that,” Rodgers said to the media.

“With experience, I’ve tried not to listen so much to what goes on. I knew the Celtic fans were hurting which is why I’ll never be critical of them.

“I understand how they’re feeling but they had a good result on Saturday. They are into the Scottish Cup semi-final and we’ll both move on.

“It was sad to leave Celtic and the quickness of it meant I didn’t have the chance to say goodbye to lots of people who meant a lot to me and friends outside of the game.

“But from that point I’ve only been focused on the football.”

Rodgers of course was returning to one of his other former clubs today and the Watford fans were anything but friendly to their former manager who was roundly booed by the home support.

“I didn’t hear so much from the Watford fans. I’ll always be grateful to the club,” Rodgers stated.

“They have a tradition of giving young managers an opportunity and they gave me mine and I loved my time here.

“The start was difficult because we were struggling at the bottom but we grew and developed. I’ve said I made a mistake when I left but it’s a wonderful club and the fans are great.”

Watford grabbed a late winner and their stadium DJ played The Celtic tune Just Can’t Get Enough as a wee topical noise-up to their former manager.

The Leicester fans sang about hating Celtic – see these wee clubs!

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

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