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Rodgers in line for a deserved double
Despite his excellent achievements at Liverpool where he came so agonisingly close to winning the club’s first ever Premier League title, Brendan Rodgers’ managerial career has lacked any silverware. His most notable triumph to date was winning the Championship play-off final with Swansea City in 2011, an achievement that helped him attain the much coveted job on Merseyside.
Although he was named LMA Manager of the Year for the 2013-14 season, the Reds sacked him due to his lack of tangible awards. Now with Celtic it looks as though the 43-year-old’s hard work is finally about to pay off, as the Scottish champions are well on track for a league and cup double.
Celtic have dominated the Scottish Premiership for some time, but Rodgers’ arrival has served to steady the ship after many believed that Ronny Deila’s tenure had ended with rifts emerging behind the scenes. Since the Northern Irishman has taken control, Celtic’s record in the domestic league and cup has been impeccable. After nine games in the league they remain undefeated, with only one 2-2 draw against Inverness CT. Their supremacy in the Scottish top flight is so much so that Betway have them at odds of 1/25 to retain the title, with no other team coming anywhere near.
Rodgers has guided the Hoops to yet another Scottish League Cup final at the end of November against Aberdeen. Bookies have the Bhoys at 1/3 to lift their first trophy of the season when the game is contested at Hampden Park next month. The Dons have had a fair start to the season - losing only twice and drawing three times in the league - but Rodgers will surely play his strongest squad in the hope of lifting his first ever title.
Fans have swiftly warmed to the former Liverpool boss as he has expeditiously implemented his methods at Celtic Park. The form of the side is one cause for delirium, but the other more important matter was the slaughter of Celtic’s fiercest rivals in Rodgers' fourth game at the helm. The Celts destroyed their old enemies upon the Teddy Bears’ return to the top flight in a 5-1 demolition in front of a packed home stadium. Perhaps even more satisfying, though, was the narrow victory in the semi-final of the cup at the Ibrox stadium. Rangers had managed to cling on until the 88th minute until Moussa Dembele’s late goal (see below) sealed the tie for the Hoops and quashed Rangers’ hopes of Silverware in their first season back at the summit.
While at Liverpool it’s fair to say that Rodgers made a fair few dubious signings, but there were also a number of highly astute moves conducted in the transfer market during his tenure. Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho, and Roberto Firmino have all turned out to be excellent acquisitions, and players that Liverpool will surely be able to sell for massive profits when the time comes.
Celtic fans will have found their new manager’s minimal transfer activity to date encouraging. He made shrewd signings rather than going overboard, like he has been known to in the past. Kolo Toure joined on a free to bolster the slightly leaky defence and Dembele was picked up for a mere £500,000 from Fulham. The French striker has already proved to be a vital cog in the Celtic machine this season, picking up 12 goals in 14 appearances for the club. Some are already speculating that the player could go on to great things, and if so would command a high transfer fee when the Glasgow outfit decide to sell him.
Rodgers and Celtic are thus far looking like a match made in heaven, and the first silverware for the ex-Swansea manager is within touching distance. The wise money would be on it being the first of many for him with the Scottish giants.