Kieran Tierney has spoken this week about his fears that his time at Celtic might have been tarnished by his decision to sign for Arsenal. He had nothing to worry about, not even when taking the reaction Rodgers’ departure into consideration.
There are two key differences between what happened with Rodgers and what happened with Kieran, and here’s the first of them. Kieran never lied to us. He talked, always, like a guy who was living the dream but also with one eye ever on his wider career.
We knew Kieran was likely to leave at some point and this club would benefit from a record fee when he finally did. The more I listened to him talk about his plans and the way he saw the game, the more I came to realise we would not hang onto him. Football was his job, and playing for Celtic was a pleasure but he wanted to play against the best every week.
Rodgers constantly bullshitted about Celtic. He lied repeatedly to the fans. Even on the weekend before his departure he was denying that it was in the offing although everyone at Celtic knew full well that it was. It was all the badge kissing and pledges of allegiance from Rodgers that made what happened hard to take.
And the second thing is that it was the manner in which he chose to do it, and not just the timing but the slinking out of town like a thief in the night. He didn’t even bother to talk to the players before he left, and let’s not forget that he did it on the eve of a massive cup game and that he took the whole of the backroom team with him.
Kieran left us £25 million richer. Rodgers left us in the shit. No sooner was he at Leicester having well and truly screwed us but was pledging to die for them. A bullshit artist par excellence, that’s all Rodgers really was when it came down to it.
Rodgers left us because he was a selfish man who had clashed with another selfish man. Their egos got in the way of what was in the best interests of Celtic, and it’s really as simple as that. Neither man gave a toss what damage it did to the club. I knew he would leave after that clash of egos went public, but I expected him to give us to the end of the season and allow the board the proper time to find a replacement. His conduct was disgraceful.
Kieran saw a chance to play for a top, top club and couldn’t realistically afford to hang around in case that was the best opportunity he was going to have. Rodgers could easily have sat out the rest of the season and taken stock then … Leicester was not the biggest club he could have gotten, and his haste to get out the door shows how toxic things had become.
But his problem is that he has never acknowledged that the toxicity went both ways, that he had become difficult to deal with behind the scenes. This is not a new thing for Rodgers; he has done it at every club including at Liverpool. There are probably behind the scenes issues at Leicester, unless they just grant his every wish and whim.
Kieran, on the other hand, was a young kid with a career choice in front of him and he did right by himself and the club both. I never held the least bit of anger about what he did and I don’t think anyone did. He did it the right way. He did it for the right reasons.
Celtic fans respect him for that. Rodgers … not so much.