BRENDAN RODGERS is back in charge of Celtic after an absence of over four years.
The Irishman won seven successive domestic honours during his first spell as manager after arriving in May 2016.
It was a rollercoaster two and a half years before he departed Parkhead in hasty and controversial exit.
Life was rarely dull when the charismatic gaffer was around.
In another CQN EXCLUSIVE series, we are celebrating Rodgers’ second homecoming by reviewing his Celtic adventure from the beginning.
Author Alex Gordon, who has had fifteen Celtic books published, including ‘50 Flags Plus One‘, ‘CELTIC: The Awakening‘ and ‘That Season in Paradise‘, opens the pages of another publication, ‘The History Bhoys‘, to chart the progress of an extraordinary character.
BRENDAN RODGERS experienced some spectacular successes in his 13 Glasgow derbies first time around.
The Irishman celebrated a wonderful 5-0 title-winning triumph in April 2018 as well as two 5-1 wins over the Ibrox side as he pitted his wits against four different managers.
Mark Warburton, Pedro Caixinho, Graeme Murty and Steven Gerrard all sampled defeat as they occupied the opposition dug-out with Rodgers winning 10, drawing two and losing only one of the encounters.
Coincidentally, the only stain on the record came in his last match against the champions’ city foes on December 29 2018 – just two months before he left for Leicester City.
GLASGOW BELONGS TO ME…Brendan Rodgers enjoys his derby debut, the landslide 5-1 triumph in September 2016.
Rodgers was breathless after sampling the rarified atmosphere of his first all-Glasgow confrontation – the unforgettable 5-1 mauling of Warburton’s devastated Govan side on a sunny afternoon in the east end of Glasgow on September 10 2016.
Moussa Dembele ran amok and became the first player to hit a league hat-trick in this fixture since Lisbon Lion Stevie Chalmers thumped three behind Rangers keeper Billy Ritchie in Jock Stein’s team’s 5-1 rout in January 1966 on the club’s way to their first title in 12 years.
The French powerhouse, one of Rodgers’ first signings in the summer of 2016, was making his derby debut following his cut-price cross-border transfer from Fulham.
Dembele went on to collect seven strikes against the Ibrox team.
On the first outing, Scott Sinclair and Stuart Armstrong joined in the revelry in the east end of Glasgow.
The September 10 date was also the birthdate of the legendary Stein and Rodgers said:”A great day for the club and the team. I thought it was an outstanding performance.
THREE AND EASY…mighty Moussa Dembele celebrates his hat-trick in Celtic 5-1 derby rout in September 2016.
“Today was everything I expected and more. The supporters were incredible.
“I spoke about Jock Stein in my team talk. I said: ‘For us, it’s about getting the three points. But when you beat one of your rivals it’s a wee bit sweeter’.
“That was the message. But it was primarily about the guy looking down, the man who set the tone for this club, the template. We said that if he is looking down make sure we do him proud.”
For the record, here is the series of results enjoyed by Rodgers in his first stint as Celtic boss:
September 10, 2016: Premiership: Celtic 5 (Dembele 3, Sinclair, Armstrong), Rangers 1 (Garner);
October 23: League Cup semi-final: Celtic 1 (Dembele), Rangers 0;
December 31: Premiership: Rangers 1 (Miller), Celtic 2 (Dembele, Sinclair);
March 12, 2017: Premiership: Celtic 1 (Armstrong), Rangers 1 (Hill);
April 23: Scottish Cup semi-final: Celtic 2 (McGregor, Sinclair pen), Rangers 0;
April 29: Premiership: Rangers 1 (Miller), Celtic 5 (Sinclair pen, Griffiths, McGregor, Boyata, Lustig);
September 23: Premiership: Rangers 0, Celtic 2 (Rogic, Griffiths);
December 30: Premiership: Celtic 0, Rangers 0;
March 11, 2018: Premiership: Rangers 2 (Windass, Candieas), Celtic 3 (Rogic, Dembele, Edouard);
April 15: Scottish Cup semi-final: Celtic 4 (Rogic, McGregor, Dembele pen, Ntcham pen), Rangers 0;
April 29: Premiership: Celtic 5 (Edouard 2, Forrest, Rogic, McGregor), Rangers 0.
September 2: Premiership: Celtic 1 (Ntcham), Rangers 0.
December 29: Premiership: Rangers 1 (Jack) Celtic 0.
* TOMORROW: Don’t miss the thirteenth instalment of the remarkable Brendan Rodgers Story so far.