The Brendan Voyage begins again. Let’s get behind the man from Carnlough

Celtic TV this afternoon released an exclusive interview with Brendan Rodgers which was filmed yesterday at Lennoxtown as the returning Celtic manager reflected on the first week of pre-season training and the news that both Kyogo and Daizen Maeda have signed contract extensions with the club, plus his thoughts on the two new signings already in the door in Odin Thiago Holm and Marco Tilio.

Tellingly there was no mention at all of the exit of Portuguese winger Jota but did talk about Callum McGregor and his appreciation for the way the Celtic captain has continued to develop since, Brendan’s first stint as Celtic manager. He talked again about the role Calmac played in convincing Rodgers to make the bold and even brave decision to return to Celtic, after the animosity his sudden exit in February 2019 caused.

On that point, it’s worth reading the comments from Celtic supporters commenting on the video which has been posted on the club’s You Tube channel, it’s very clear from that snapshot that the Celtic support is behind Brendan and quite rightly so.

Celtic v Hibernian – James Forrest with the matchball Photo Steve Welsh

Brendan also talks about James Forrest who celebrated his birthday yesterday up at Lennoxtown and talked about the forthcoming testimonial for the one-club winger against Athletic Club at the beginning of August. This will also be the first match back at Paradise for Brendan Rodgers who has urged the Celtic support to turn out and fill the stadium to honour this Celtic legend.

Here are some of those comments from Celtic supporters…

“Loving Brendan being back home hail hail God bless”…Brilliant to have a top class manager at the helm! Let’s go and achieve!”…”Brilliant to have him back”…”Glad to see Brendan back, what a manager he is”…”Class man and manager”…”Welcome back Brendan. Just deliver us a treble”…”He’s a top manager. Not one person here would not take an opportunity of more money in their job, back him to the hilt”…”The Brendan Voyage begins again. Let’s get behind the man from Carnlough”…

Back to what Brendan was saying yesterday. “It feels like coming back to family, if I’m honest. I’ve been given a great welcome back and it’s been great to see a lot of faces, obviously that were here when I was here the last time, so it feels really good.”

Brendan has brought Glen Driscoll with him back to Celtic and they are now working with John Kennedy, who they know well and the other Celtic coaches Stevie Woods, Gavin Strachan and Harry Kewell and the Celtic manager is more than happy with the composition of his coaching staff, many of whom opted to remain at Celtic rather than take the opportunity to join former manager Ange Postecoglou at Tottenham.

“Obviously just coming in here with Glen, who has worked with me at all my clubs, I knew John. John is an outstanding coach and fantastic person, and he really complements my teaching of the game,” Brendan said.

“So I knew John really, really well and I know that I can trust him with everything. Our view of the game is very much the same, so it’s been great to come back and work with him.

“Woodsy, again I know and is an outstanding goalkeeping coach, and Gavin and Harry who I didn’t know so well, but both of those guys are really passionate about coaching, really passionate about developing players and it’s a really strong coaching team.”

As you will know the Celtic players who have been involved in international matches in June don’t return to pre-season training until the start of next week, so that has given Rodgers the chance to check out many of the Celtic B team guys who have been training with the first team players who came back last Monday.  And the Celtic manager has been impressed with what he’s seen this week at Lennoxtown ahead of the full squad heading to Portugal for some warm weather training before the trip to Japan.

“Normally, now in the modern game, very rarely do you get your players back at the one time. So that always gives you a chance to see the young players, and I’ve got to say I’ve been really impressed with, both the established guys in the first-team squad.

“They’ve been excellent, their attitude is outstanding and they’ve come back in really, really good condition, so they are back already fit that gives us the chance to really build on that, and the young players.

“Of course a lot of them I haven’t known and they’ve been pleasantly surprising and really, really good. Sometimes a young player can come in and suffer with the intensity of training with the first team, but they’ve all coped really, really well and that’s been pleasing,” Brendan said.

He added: “I think the next block of two weeks will be a punishing schedule with the heat, but we need to get our work in and that’s what pre-season is for. We want to play attacking aggressive football and in order to do that you obviously need to be very good, but you also need to be very fit.

“So building up that base over the course of this pre-season is very important, and the point I made to the players is it starts on day one. When you’re looking to reclaim the winning mentality you have to come back from the very first day and give everything, and that’s what the players have done so far.”

Brendan Rodgers and Callum McGregor. Credit: Vagelis Georgariou

On Callum McGregor, who resume training on Monday, Rodgers was full of praise for his captain. “We had a really strong relationship the last time I was here. I’ve seen him grow, I’ve seen his personality grow on the field and he was very much beside Scott Brown in my first time here.

“Just to see him continue to grow and evolve, and now being the great ambassador he is for the club as well as player, I’m really proud to see that development. So I’m really looking forward to working with Cal. He’s a brilliant player, he communicates so well for the club, for his team-mates and I have to say he was one of the big reasons for coming back.

“When I had the lunch with him and we spoke about Celtic, I could see the determination in his eyes to keep achieving and that made me really think about going back to help him and support the team. Because that’s why we all exist. We all exist here at Celtic to help the players achieve and when they achieve, then the supporters are happy.”

Brendan finished up by talking about James Forrest’s massive contribution to Celtic and his achievements at the club, urging the support to fill the stadium for his testimonial match against Athletic Club, who incidentally will be warmly welcomed by the Celtic support for their brilliant tributes to Billy McNeill a few years ago.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds 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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