BRENDAN RODGERS might just have tonight’s rival manager Arne Slot to thank for the Irishman being given the opportunity to return to Celtic.

It was well publicised in May that the Feyenoord boss was high on the list of Spurs’ wanted men as they searched for a long-term successor to the sacked Antonio Conte.

At that time, Ange Postecoglou had not been mentioned among the possibilities amid a host of names which included Xabi Alonso, Vincent Kompany and Julian Nagelsmann.

SILVER SMILES…Feyenoord boss Arne Slot proudly holds aloft the Eredivisie trophy.

No-one from the North London club has ever denied the Dutchman, who had just won the Eredivisie with the Rotterdam outfit, had been singled out by a troubled team which was heading for a dismal eighth-placed finish in the Premier League and a season in European oblivion.

Slot, though, spurned the advances of Spurs, decided to stay put and signed a new £2.5million-per-year contract to remain at the Dutch side until mid-2026 at least.

After signing the enhanced deal, the manager explained: “We are going to play in the Champions League, which I’ve never done before as a player and as a coach. The club is in a real good place.”

With Slot politely declined the advances of Daniel Levy and Co, another raft of names emerged for the job – former River Plate head coach Marcelo Gallardo, one-time Barcelona and Spain boss Luis Enrique, Brighton’s Robert De Zerbi and Fulham’s Marco Silva.

And Ange Postecoglou.

HALLELUJAH – AND FAREWELL…Ange Postecoglou shows off the Scottish Cup to the Celtic fans just 48 hours before quitting to take over Spurs.

It’s history now that the popular Greek-Australian gaffer quit the Hoops in the immediate aftermath of the Scottish Cup Final success on June 3 to agree the switch from Glasgow to London.

In his two extraordinary years at Parkhead, Postecoglou revived an ailing team and won five out of six domestic honours.

He departed with the best wishes of everyone of a Celtic persuasion – and his quickfire exit opened the door for Rodgers to return four and a half years after leaving for Leicester City.

This evening in Rotterdam, the second time-around Hoops boss will pit his wits against Slot in the opening Champions League Group E encounter at the De Kuip stadium.

Funny old game, football.

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Feyenoord v Celtic this evening – only in your champion CQN.

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