It is very rare that I take much of an interest in Scottish football if I am honest. The league has been uncompetitive for a good while, with Celtic dominating the SPL.
However, last season I took notice of Celtic because of the man at the helm, ex-Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers.
I liked Rodgers before he went to Liverpool. At Liverpool, he seemed out of his depth at times, though, despite coming so close to winning the Premier League title.
The Northern Irishman is a boss that likes his teams to play football. Even if things are not going well he sticks to his principles, maybe he has done slightly too much at previous clubs.
Still young for a boss
Rodgers seems to have been in the game a long time. He has been a coaching prodigy for seemingly ever. From his coaching days at Chelsea, before stints at Reading and Watford as boss, he has been coaching at some level for a good while.
It hard to believe Rodgers is still only 44. In terms of football bosses, he is relatively young. He got the Liverpool job on the back of his potential and performance at Swansea.
However, the Premier League is a cutthroat league and the Reds underperformance in a season and a half under Rodgers was enough for the former Swansea boss to leave the Merseyside club.
Rodgers was never going to be out the game for long, though and still had a big reputation. He also still had a lot of potential to fulfil as a coach. At Celtic, Rodgers is honing his skills in an environment that allows him to try different things.
At some point it seems inevitable that Rodgers will return to the English Premier League. His experience at Celtic will make him a far better football manager.
Won everything last season
Last season Celtic recorded a domestic treble of the SPL title, FA and League Cup. Some will say that Celtic are flat-track bullies and that their competition was poor.
However, the Hoops survived their SPL campaign unbeaten, which even by any standards is still impressive. That will be difficult to follow up in the new campaign, although Rodgers seems confident of his side improving this season.
The Hoops kick-off their defence of their SPL crown today against Hearts, a game they are favourites at odds of 2/11 to win. The visitors are in disarray after the sacking of rookie boss Ian Cathro.
The champions should have no problem dispatching the visitors from the Scottish capital. Tougher challenges surely lie ahead for the men from Glasgow.
Europe a test of their mettle
Due to the lack of competition in the SPL, Europe has been the gauge of success for the Hoops in recent years. Rodgers side recorded a 1-0 aggregate win over Norwegian champions Rosenborg in the third qualifying round of the Champions League.
The victory set up a meeting with surprise package Astana of Kazakhstan in the play-off rounds of the competition. Rodgers and co. will be confident of victory and progression to the group stages of the Champions League.
However, there is a sense that the Celtic boss is not resting on his laurels in Glasgow. He seems determined to make Celtic as strong as he can during his stint as boss.
It will be a big challenge for Rodgers to improve on last season. However, maybe if the Hoops produce some stronger performances in the Champions League the team will be perceived to have made progress this season.
Can Brendan Rodgers improve on last season at Celtic?
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