EXACTLY A YEAR AGO, I received a text message confirming Brendan Rodgers was about to be announced as Celtic’s successor to Ange Postecoglou.

The news, hardly unexpected, broke a personal reverie as I sipped a cup of tea on the balcony of an apartment in a quiet fishing village deep in the south of Crete.

Aptly, the sun was shining in a cloudless blue sky.

Now the news was about to be rubberstamped and made official, I wondered how the appointment would be received by Mr Angry of Row E. You know the type of guy I’m talking about. The one who can never find it within his heart to forgive.

The way I was brought up, I was taught that you can forget, but only God can forgive.

You may – or may not – believe in such philosophy, that’s entirely your business and I respect that.

FANFARE…Brendan Rodgers salutes the Celtic fans after the 2-1 league win over Rangers last month.

However, I did have some concerns what Rodgers may be walking into. I didn’t think for even a heartbeat he was not aware of the backlash that was around the corner if he did not produce second time-around.

The lynch mob lay in wait. And the returning gaffer, bright and astute, would have known that. Even anticipated it.

Rodgers, after departing Leicester City four months earlier, had made plans to take a year out to loosen up in the relaxing sunshine of Majorca with his family before plotting his way back into the game.

Pep Guardiola did something similar when he quit Barcelona at the completion of the 2011/12 season. He had a sabbatical in New York and didn’t return to football until January 2013 when he took charge of Bayern Munich. The break didn’t seem to do the wily Spaniard any harm.

However, Rodgers’ scheme had to be put on the back-burner after a persuasive phone call from Dermot Desmond.

Celtic’s majority shareholder saw the worth of Rodgers as an elite manager to succeed the popular Postecoglou, but, naturally, not everyone would be in sync with the thinking of the Irish billionaire.

I borrowed my wife’s iPad and, to the gentle backdrop of the Aegean Sea caressing a sandy shore a couple of minutes walk away, I knocked out a piece basically imploring a section of the Celtic support to overcome the bitter disappoinment of Rodgers’ hasty departure in February 2019.

It was a sore one for all of us. Despite the incessant chatter from across the border, it seemed the manager was resolute in his task of taking Celtic to higher levels.

But, at a stroke one crisp February morning, the news broke Rodgers had left the building.

It didn’t take long for recriminations to kick in and that was evident from a giant banner that was unfurled before the match against Hearts at Tynecastle 48 hours later with Neil Lennon in interim charge after the speedy exit of his compatriot.

Basically, in big, bold letters, Brendan was branded ‘a fraud’ by a section of supporters who may even have viewed his decision to leave as a betrayal.

GOOD TO BE BACK…Brendan Rodgers and Callum McGregor with the Scottish Cup.

I wrote the brief article and I hoped I had put an appropriate headline on the viewpoint.

LET’S KICK AND MAKE UP‘ was the line I came up with and I fervently hoped that would be the case.

It was a bumpy ride, dear reader, but it was music to the tired old ears of your humble scribe when 60,000 fans were in complete harmony as the glittering Premiership silverware was handed over on the sunlit afternoon of May 18 following the 3-2 triumph over St Mirren at Parkhead.

Half of Hampden kept the feelgood factor going a week later as a beaming Brendan Rodgers waved the Scottish Cup above his head.

Now the trick is to keep things moving in the right direction.

I’m fairly certain the Celtic manager knows that.


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