Rodgers Owned That Press Room Yesterday, And One Dopey Hack In Particular.

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There is a really great West Wing moment which came to my mind yesterday; President Bartlett is preparing for the one solitary debate of his re-election campaign.

He is going up against the “folksy” Floridian governor Robert Ritchie, and his communications director Toby Zeigler is terrified that something will go wrong. In their final quick drill, Bartlett is all over the place; he stammers over an answer on the death penalty which is so removed of emotion and humanity that Zeigler demands they do a full-scale rehearsal.

And then Bartlett starts to laugh.

He’s faking it. It’s a joke, specifically at Toby’s expense. At that moment, Zeigler knows he’s ready and that he’ll win the debate easily, which he does.

The reason I thought of it is that Rodgers played his own little game at the presser yesterday. He didn’t pretend nervousness; in fact, he was completely without fear. But he did have a little fun at the expense of at least one person in the room, and actually a few more.

I was very impressed by the cool, composed way he handled himself. It helped that the hacks were as narrowly focussed as they’ve ever been; the question about John Beaton must have brought a smile to his face; it was such an obvious bear trap.

Had they put up signs he could not have avoided it any easier.

Rodgers enjoyed the sparring because he knows he can dance rings around these people. Yesterday, he dispensed with the usual media events – seperate ones for the print press and the broadcast journalists – by combining them.

He then allowed Keith Jackson to ask several questions, and I thought that was great.

Anyone who has been following Joe McHugh’s fine articles on the anger Rodgers feels towards Jackson for publishing stuff that was meant to be off-the-record will wonder what that was about; it was Rodgers telling all the other hacks in the room, “Not only has this guy taken your separate press event, but I’m giving him your questions as well.”

Joe reckons they’ll be pissed at Celtic. I think they’ll be pissed at The Record, which is obviously what Rodgers intends. Other outlets will not be happy at all.

On top of that, the implied insult to Jackson has doubtless gone right over the scribbler’s head; who could Rodgers rely on more to ask softball questions and to waste everyone in the room’s time than a desperate hack who wants to get back in his good graces?

Jackson was doubtless pleased. More fool him.

He could live his whole life and not see that he wasn’t being flattered but mocked like some dancing bear, and used both to illustrate Rodgers’ larger point and run down the clock.

That’s why Rodgers called on him; not only to give him that using but because he knows that there’ll be a British Socialist Republic before Jackson figures it out.

But Rodgers wasn’t even finished there. He wanted to make another point, and to make sure that it was well understood. The hacks must have squirmed in their seats. He reminded them all of the “narrative” that was predominant before our last visit to Ibrox.

“When we arrived in the game, individually and collectively we were written off … (They) were on the up, they were ready for us. We had players missing, but we showed collectively that if you stay together and you focus, work hard and play to your level, then you’ll always be in with a chance to be the victor and that was the case … We go into this game with the same intention and probably a similar narrative and similar storyline … the narrative around Celtic will always feel a little bit like we’re behind. So that’s okay. It’s an opportunity for us.”

That’s what you call nailing it. That’s what you call sending the message loud and clear; write us off as much as you like. Because we use it to give us that extra jolt. Our team plays better when it has something to prove, and people to silence.

Rodgers must secretly love these guys at times.

Behind the contempt, which he now makes obvious every time he sits there in front of them, there must be at least some amusement at how effortlessly he handles them.

Clement might get the love-in, but Rodgers, with a much harder task, handles it better and with a deftness the Belgian Waffler can’t muster.

When I watched that presser last night, I couldn’t help think what a pleasure it was to watch Rodgers work. He made it look easy because it was.

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  • John Copeland says:

    Keith Jackson ! Is that the same scoop who calls himself ” Scotland’s Most Influncial Columnist ?” Well ,after yesterday’s embarrassing presser ,those other scoops in attendance must have been thinking that if he’s the best on offer from the SMSM what is the point in continuing ?

    • Captain Swing says:

      There’s no point in them continuing. A malprogrammed ChatGPT bot would be a better sportswriter than any of the cranks, halfwits and jakies currently masquerading as sports journalists in Scotland. Their entire output could be summed up as “Cellic crap, Rainjurz tap”.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Good that someone at Celtic is finally treating the bastards with the contempt that they deserve !

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