Date: 25th February 2020 at 2:10pm
Written by:

Twelve months ago today, I published an article which slammed as ridiculous the idea that Brendan Rodgers would walk away from Celtic Park immortality to pursue the vacant post at Leicester City. By the time I went to bed that night I knew he would.

The bookies were the giveaway; the odds on it had dropped so far that a tenner bet would have got you less than a quid.

I knew, from having seen and heard Lawwell during on the day after the Athens game at Parkhead, when he had been scathing about Rodgers attitude in the media prior to the match, that the writing was on the wall of course.

I fully expected us to get through the season, secure the Treble Treble and then spend a summer searching for his successor.

An enormous clash of egos inside the walls had come to a head. Lawwell has never liked playing second fiddle to anyone, and Rodgers doesn’t recognise that he has equals far less superiors. What afflicted us on those early days of last season, and into the January window, was nothing short of selfishness; these men put themselves before Celtic.

One of those men is still at the club. We’ll get to him in another article.

Rodgers doubtless looks back and thinks he did the right thing. Celtic has progressed under Lennon and he himself will almost certainly lead Leicester back to the Champions League. So everything went swimmingly, right? We should forgive and forget.

Wrong. Rodgers’ egotism manifested itself in an act of sabotage against our club.

That’s what it was when he went, and took most of the backroom with him.

He left no support network behind him. He didn’t care about the huge games we were on the brink of; an away tie at Hearts, where he’d lost earlier in the season, and a Scottish Cup tie at Easter Road where he rarely won. He didn’t care that it left the fans bereft and the squad shell-shocked.

The great moments from the Rodgers years – and there are many of them – are tainted by what he did a year ago tomorrow.

That’s permanent.

He should have left behind one of the great legacies in the history of our club, but his chance to be regarded a Celtic icon went by the boards when he left us with the third season hanging, and the club in turmoil.

I know he still smarts at this, at our apparent ingratitude, seeing it as some kind of dismissal of what he achieved here.

He couldn’t be more wrong.

I don’t know a single Celtic fan who is not grateful that he ever walked through the doors, far less for what he achieved once he had.

But the timing, and the way, of his departure casts a shadow over it all.

How will he be remembered?

Undoubtedly, as a success. An unqualified, unbeatable manager in terms of leagues and cups.

The Invincible season will remain the high point of Celtic’s domestic footballing accomplishments, probably for the rest of our lives.

It’s hard to imagine any manager or side doing anything remotely comparable to it again.

But his record will forever be blotted by that dire day one year ago tomorrow when he crept out of Parkhead like a thief in the night, and pledged to “die” for Leicester City.

It leaves a bad taste in the mouth even now, even when the seas are calm and we’re, arguably, in a better place than we were with Rodgers at the helm.

That’s a credit to Lennon and the team.

They have worked miracles.

It’s why we’re on the brink of that ninth title, and that fourth consecutive treble.

Those who are still here when we make it ten will achieve the rank of “icons.”

Brendan Rodgers, for all his undoubted talents, never will now, not at Celtic.