BRENDAN RODGERS feared that he would fail as Celtic manager and in doing so let down his own Celtic family and the wider Celtic family.
“You live with that fear as a manager. Always,” he said last night as he reflected on his time ‘managing the people’, an honour that began one sunny afternoon in May 2016 and every Celtic supporter hopes, last a very long time.
Rodgers had turned out to be the most significant individual to arrive at the club since Henrik Larsson was signed for a bargain basement price of £650,000.
That was an incredible piece of business by Celtic and so was the decision to show enough ambition to go get Rodgers.
Fortune they say favours the brave and Celtic and Rodgers have never had to look back or indeed look in the face of s domestic defeat. It is a bitter Aberdeen and Rangers have suffered a combined total of 13 times from 14 mstches and it was only an honest mistake from Bobby Madden in the last minute of the Rangers match at Parkhead that denied Rodgers’ side a last minute penalty.
Had Madden pointed to the spot and had Leigh Griffiths converted then it would have been 14 defeats from 14 for the two sides who have stated that they want to challenge Celtic.
That looks a long shot in the extreme. On Wednesday Rodgers’ side gave Aberdeen a footballing lesson and the next day Rangers sacked their manager Pedro Caixinha.
Meanwhile Brendan was preparing for a sell-out book launch at the Armadillo in Glasgow. This is a man very much at the peak of his managerial powers.
A class act is Brendan. Yet his biggest fear is failure and letting down his people.
“I think you can never rely on what you did yesterday. It doesn’t guarantee you success tomorrow,” he warned.
“The worry for me coming in to here was, considering the people I grew up with and now working at the club I supported, that I would fail. And how that would feel.
“And I still have that in my own mind. So that’s part of the driving force to ensure that you can never become complacent.
“But thankfully I’ve got an outstanding board of directors here and we communicate very well.
“We’re very clear on our strategy going forward and very much in unison.
“But, as a manager, yeah. You never stop thinking that way,” he continued.
Celtic just seem to be getting better and better and after that performance at Pittodrie the support has started to believe that maybe, just maybe Celtic can, whisper it, pull off a shock on Tuesday when Bayern Munich are in town.
“I have enjoyed us a lot in my time here,” stated Rodgers. “I think we put another signpost in the ground in terms of showing the way and the direction that we are heading in and it is all linked. You go back to the Bayern Munich game and people talk about being pragmatic.
“Being pragmatic you don’t play like that. It is a process. In the second half against Bayern our guys actually showed well. It is all linked to how you work. It is easy for people who have no commitment to anything to play great football one day, be pragmatic the next day and then play football again. You then don’t have any commitment. You are not committing to any one way or working.
And the Celtic boss was blown away by the praise his team received from a very unlikely source on Wednesday at Pittodrie.
“I don’t look for validation but for someone I have never met before, there was a real nice comment from Willie Miller. He is someone whom I had seen growing up as a brilliant player and someone I respected as a footballer.
“I have never met him in my life and towards the end of the game he talked about how he hadn’t seen a Scottish team play this way so it is important how we work. We still have a lot to do but we are getting there.
“For us it was a wonderful demonstration of how we train and how we work, the level of our football. I have taken a Swansea team around the Premier League and a Liverpool team around the Premier League and played in some big pressure games and played well. That was right up there with those games.
“That is a deliverance of how we work. It was pleasing and I though Derek was very honest and humble after the game. It has gone. We reflected on it and we move on to the next game with the aim to win again.”
Brendan Rodgers – The Road to Paradise is available now from www.cqnbookstore.com