Glasgow (AFP) – Brendan Rodgers’s remarkable spell as Celtic manager has earned him rave notices from a whole range of people but perhaps most reassuringly his boss, chief executive Peter Lawwell.
Lawwell hailed him as an ‘outstanding manager’ after Rodgers had guided Celtic to a 3-0 win over Belgian side Anderlecht in Brussels on Wednesday — only their second ever away victory in the Champions League — to end a run of 16 games in the competition without a win, just four days after seeing off Old Firm rivals Rangers with a 2-0 victory at Ibrox.
Lawwell, who will welcome back to Celtic former manager Neil Lennon on Saturday with his Hibs side, marvels at how the 44-year-old former Liverpool manager has succeeded in turning round the fortunes with a squad showing few changes to the one of his predecessor Ronny Deila.
“It’s been remarkable, the majority of the players that appear for the first team each week and appeared last night (only two who played against Anderlecht were Rodgers signings) were at Celtic with Ronny before Brendan came,” said Lawwell, whose team top the table by two points from Abderdeen.
“So he’s (Rodgers) done an incredible job, he’s an outstanding manager and outstanding coach, and I’m delighted for him.
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“The amount of work he puts in, the coaches put in, the way the players have developed and the way they are performing, it’s been remarkable really.”
Rodgers’s Celtic revolution has seen a stunning turnaround in the fortunes of the Parkhead club since Deila left under a cloud despite winning two league titles and a League Cup during his two seasons in charge.
Rodgers — appointed in May 2016 — subsequently guided Celtic to a clean sweep of trophies in an unbeaten debut season.
The high-profile appointment of Rodgers was to all intents and purposes a signal from the board that Celtic would be getting down to serious business again to coincide with the return of Rangers to the Scottish top flight.
It is hard to find similar praise for Rodgers’s Rangers counterpart as his side prepare to take on Hamilton on Friday.
Pedro Caixinha’s reign at Rangers has been characterised by promises and big talk but the 46-year-old has delivered little signs of progress.
‘What happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas’ was the mantra from the Portuguese manager this week as he hit out at reports he had lost the support of many of his Rangers players following his alleged criticism of their performances in last week’s Old Firm defeat at a team meeting.
However, Caixinha will be hoping his side don’t show any signs of a hangover from that derby loss as another poor performance will only see the doubts about his suitability for the Ibrox hotseat grow.
Fixtures (1400GMT unless otherwise stated)
Hamilton v Rangers (1845)
Aberdeen v St Johnstone, Celtic v Hibernian, Dundee v Hearts, Kilmarnock v Ross County, Motherwell v Partick Thistle