Being The Celtic Boss Comes With Criticism. But Rodgers Must Be Fuming At Some Of It.

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Every Celtic manager who has ever sat in the dugout knows that in certain sections of the media, the knives are being sharpened for him on his first day in the job. There are people amongst the hacks who are unceasing in their criticism and cannot bring themselves to say a positive word about the men who inhabit our dugout.

There is an idea which the hacks like to push, that in Glasgow the press always turns one boss into a hero and the other into a villain. It’s not true. Every Ibrox boss starts out as a hero and has to really screw up before the pendulum swings against him. Every Celtic boss starts off under fire and only slowly but surely do they gain respect … just in time for the media to link them with every crap job that comes up in the English Premier League.

This has been the pattern for as long as I can remember. Don’t let anyone tell you that Rodgers was any different. The guns were pointed at him from the second he came back, and an entire industry was bracing itself waiting for him to fail. As I’ll write about later, The Mooch was the transformational Ibrox boss at that point, he was the guy who was going to elevate them to the fabled “next level” and Rodgers was facing a challenge at long last.

Rodgers has not covered himself in glory. The best way to answer your critics is to silence them with continued success, after all, and he’s been unable to do that so far, and under those circumstances you would expect the hacks to be happily sticking in the boot. But in point of fact, the criticism Rodgers is getting has hardly changed from it was on the day he arrived back at Celtic Park, and that’s common across the mainstream media and the fans.

Rodgers remains “the rat.” He remains “unproven” against a “good” Ibrox side. He remains the subject of much suspicion amongst supporters. Nobody can work out why he’s back. This is the news cycle he’s caught in right now, and none of it has anything to do with the performances of the team. It’s been swirling around him from the beginning.

People had their minds made up and whilst he might have changed some of them eventually, he was never going to successfully change them all. All this guy has had since his return is negativity from these people, and he’s well aware of it and it is little wonder that he sounds like someone increasingly pissed off with the whole lot of it.

Our own fans at least have a right to be critical and you can understand why some of them are. To a point. But although I was scathing about Rodgers when he left, time and a more complete understanding has changed my perception about that whole thing.

He damaged us by taking the whole backroom team with him, but his way of viewing it will be that he built it so why shouldn’t he? We had an amateurish setup before he arrived, and after he left, we went right back to one all the way up to his return, with the same low-quality coaching team. Postecoglou elevated these people as he did certain of the players. But the setup is a joke.

The people above his head at Celtic treated him abysmally. He probably felt wholly justified in his actions, but you have to bear in mind that before he left, he signed a long contract that guaranteed us a multi-million-pound payout if he did go.

Which is more than the last manager did. The Ange love-in continues for a lot of people who still fail to understand that he had no intention of committing to this club for any length of time and that his own version of Rodgers tall-tales was even more obviously designed to con us into thinking otherwise. He didn’t give us any such security because had he signed a long-term deal that would have inhibited his ability to move when the right club came along for him. I have never heard him referred to in the poisonous way I hear Rodgers discussed.

Every minute of every day, Rodgers’ motives are being questioned and his decisions second guessed. You have people who haven’t spent five minutes of their lives looking at a tactics board in anything other than sheer bafflement telling him how he should set his team up, and you also have people whose careers in management didn’t amount to the proverbial hill of beans telling him where he’s going wrong. How would you deal with that in your job?

He’s made mistakes, but people would have called a lot of his decisions mistakes whether they were or not. There are people who still blame him for the transfer window disasters, people like Chris Sutton, and probably will continue to even though Lawwell, Desmond & Sons have essentially held their hands up to that in the interim statement.

Rodgers is working under immense pressure right now, and no, I don’t think he’s dealing well with it, and he ought to have been more prepared for it, and he knows that he has to suck it up a little.

But he doesn’t have to like it, and if he lashes out once in a while nobody should be slagging him for it. In my view, he’s more than entitled to.

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  • Martin Linney says:

    James, we are at the stage where, given your earlier ‘down to 10 men tactical masterclass’ piece you can’t seem to brook any thought that the football we are seeing is slow, boring, and a real drop off from the last two seasons. Everything goes backwards time and time again, players have regressed and we are definitely not seeing a ‘tactically flexible’ coach, despite what the last two games formation may have folk thinking.

    • James Forrest says:

      I have no idea what you are talking about. The criticism of Rodgers is right there in the article.

      • Jimmy Quinn says:

        Rodger’s never managed against the original Govan tribe. He’s up against 12 year old club riddled in debt.. Now on their 3rd manager in almost 2 years..

        So no excuses. We have blown 3 in a row..

        Just your enemies up by winning..

  • Gordon Raeburn says:

    I agree with some of what you’ve said James but his continually setting up the team to play this backwards or sideways crap shows that he isn’t the tactical genius he thinks he is. When you play against 11 men behind the ball you need to attack quicker but our slowness allows teams to set up to stifle us. I can see that, most fans can see that but Rodgers seems oblivious. I also don’t understand playing right footed people on the left and left footed people on the right when we don’t play with overlapping full backs. The wingers end up turning into the most congested part of the pitch.I don’t think I need a tactics board to see all this. Also just remember he took Leicester to the brink of relegation before being sacked.

  • Meo says:

    I’ll wait untill the end of the season to further comment my feelings toward our; well spoken, egotistical, non logical and unchanging manager. Hopefully I will not have-to, and hopefully it won’t be too soon.……………………………..!

  • Bob L says:

    Bottom line, James, under the second coming Celtic football has been awful, tippy tappy pass to the side, or back. Mostly same players as last season being asked to keep the ball at all costs. Sure the Lawells, Kennedy, Strachan, etc. should be well gone, but buck stops at a manager who cannot get players to put ball into Kyogo. Players look pissed off with this boring system. O’Reilly, even Calmac. And Rodgers from outset saying we need 4 quality signings, aye,, good motivational tool. Lawells, wish they were gone big time, but Rodgers ….. not so sure now

  • Celticfcman says:

    Spot on, James. Rodgers knows what he’s doing, Sutton, Grant, and the fans have no freaking clue what their talking about. I watched the invincibles year in review DVD’s yesterday, and I quickly realized it’s an absolute miracle that we are doing as well as we are now. I thought about all the superstar players, not just that year but all the way up to Ange’s group. It’s so clear now that our current team is garbage quality. Take the midfield away, just look at our defenders and forwards. Absolute shit compared to the other 8 seasons, even including the wantaway gang during Covid. Ralston, Welsh, Scales, Taylor…ugh. Other than Taylor, very little scoring ability. Worse…the forwards Palma, Maeda, Kyogo. 2 of them are conparatively weak on scoring ability, and Kyogo is hurt (shoulder) and playing in the wrong system. Go ahead and match them all up with previous forward/defensive lines and it is so apparent this team will be lucky to hold 2nd place. IF CCV comes back and stays healthy that eliminates 1 point of weakness. However, we have no answers to improve any of the other positions unless Forrest is truly still good quick and BR has been waiting to spring his trap (unlikely). If Rodgers wins this title it will honestly be a coaching performance of the Jock Stein magnitude. I don’t see that happening any longer. Hoping upon hope Sevco runs the table in Europe and loses in the final, and we can hold off Hearts for 2nd. Those are sickening things to have to hope for.

  • Sophie Johnstone says:

    Was Chris Davies actually the real tactical deal at Celtic last time?

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    He needs to be more ruthless and also less pig headed to change things…

    Frankly he just needs to win in whatever way just bloody well win –

    Nobody expects to win like Manchester City do, certainly not at this stage of the season…

    Clement is managing it, sometimes just but managing it he mostly is –

    Albeit he has a regiment of cheats with whistles, flags and monitors behind him at a helluva lot of his fixtures !

  • Paddybhoy67 says:

    “Rodgers remains “the rat.” He remains “unproven” against a “good” Ibrox side. He remains the subject of much suspicion amongst supporters. Nobody can work out why he’s back.” That’s been my view from the start.

  • Dan says:

    I like Rodgers, he seems a decent guy, but as a coach I really don’t rate him. As others have said, it’s slow, boring, predictable football. He has been watching the same appalling football this season as we have and doesn’t seem to feel the need to change anything or he can’t. Winning is important, but it is also an entertainment industry and currently hitting Buchanan Street on a Saturday with the wife is a lot more entertaining (never thought I’d say that, ha ha).

  • Frank Connelly says:

    All spot on. If we feel he jumped ship mid season then we need to look for the reasons given he signed a long term deal. Hes taken a dooing but the board got off taking any blame. Look at the situ with the winger (cant mind his name now) that Rodgers didnt want and didnt rate. Does that gives us food for thought why he left. We made a packet when he did go. Anje was kidding us on all the way/ A stepping stone but took no abuse at all.
    The Rodgers problems then and now are all down to Lawell and now Lawell and son. Come on guys smell the coffee and lets get right behind an underperforming team and manager or this league title is going to disappear over the horizon

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