Brendan Rodgers enjoyed a hugely successful spell with Celtic between 2016 and 2019.
Still, he decided to spread his wings when Leicester City came calling to head south of the border to make a return to the Premier League.
But, after being let go by the Foxes, the Northern Irishman has made a dramatic return to Celtic Park, and he has European ambitions on his mind.
Of course, Rodgers’ first aim in the 2023/24 season will be to continue the success established by Ange Postecoglu, who departed for Spurs earlier in the summer.
Celtic won the Scottish Premiership back from Ibrox in 2021/22 and then defended their crown last season, and football betting markets already suggest that they’re in pole position to defend it once again this term; it’s a trophy Rodgers is more than used to winning. So, the former Liverpool manager has set his sights even higher ahead of his second spell with the club.
Celtic made it to the Champions League group stage in 2016/17 and 2017/18 under Rodgers, but from twelve games in total, Celtic won on one occasion and drew three times, losing eight.
They fared better in the Europa League under Rodgers, with his side making it out of the group and falling at the knockout stage in 2018/19 while also losing out at the same stage in 2017/18.
Therefore, his initial ambition is to make it past the knockout stages of a European Cup competition.
While Rodgers enjoyed great success domestically the first time round with Celtic, it’s questionable whether he would have made a return to the club if he didn’t have unfinished business on his mind.
It appears as though it was one of the motivating factors for him replacing Postecoglu, with Rodgers asserting that success in the knockout stage of Europe would “be a start.” It’s undoubtedly got fans right behind him from the get-go, even those who were hurt by his departure for Leicester in 2019.
But is what Rodgers is aiming to achieve possible?
As mentioned above, domestic success will be the manager’s bread and butter, especially with the club from Ibrox reinvigorated following Michael Beale’s arrival.
Celtic must consistently win the two-horse title race, and with a haul of two league titles, two Scottish Cups and three Scottish League Cups gathered by Rodgers during his first stint, he’s got the know-how and experience, and the players to do precisely that.
It will be another tough task in Europe, especially this time round, with the Champions League group stages waiting.
Rodgers will still be learning about his squad and the players within it, but even though star man Jota headed for the exit in a big-money move to the Saudi Pro League, Celtic have already brought in no fewer than six new faces, with more expected to join in due course.
His ambitions may seem a bit lofty to some, especially so fresh into his second spell, but he’s proven himself to be a capable manager, and you can’t write him off.
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