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Rodgers adamant Celtic is not a step down

Brendan Rodgers took the job as Celtic manager because he sees the club as one of the biggest in world football and is clear that he does not feel the move represents a step down in his career.

The former Liverpool boss has signed a 12-month rolling contract with the Scottish champions, replacing Ronny Deila after the Norwegian’s two years at the helm.

Rodgers feels many football fans in England do not understand the scale of Celtic’s global support and wants to re-establish the club as a force in the Champions League after two years outside of the group stages.

“Of course this is not the same as down south but I can assure you this is not a step down,” he said at his unveiling on Monday.

“Celtic is one of the biggest clubs in the world. I left a special club in Liverpool and I was trying to plot my next move. I had opportunities to go to other clubs in the Premier League and abroad. 

“This is not a step down. The Premier League is the most competitive league in world football, but this is one of the biggest clubs in the world and they are world renowned. 

“Many people in England might not know that. It is all about the challenge. There are also good coaches, managers and players up here.

“This is an incredible football club and the support is phenomenal. This is an institution and it is a huge honour to be the manager. I had an emotional attachment to the club.

“The objective is very clear – to continue their dominance of Scottish football and to make an impact in Europe.

“Celtic want to be competing in the Champions League. You look at Porto, Benfica – they qualify for the Champions League make a fist of it.

“We are going to have to be ready for the qualifiers. I am confident Dermot [Desmond] and Peter [Lawwell] will give me the opportunity to take the club forward.”

Rodgers then elaborated on his emotional connection with the Glasgow side.

“I understand the values and the pressures of this club,” he said. “Celtic also want to win with style in the Celtic way.

“I am here because of them as I have been a Celtic supporter all my life. The lure for me was Glasgow Celtic.

“We will do our very best for the fans. It has been very emotional – I have had uncles and brothers crying, as for them it was something they hoped they could see.

“I want to get those stands full again and it is my job to get 60,000 people back into this ground with a style of football that excites them.”

Celtic have won the last five Scottish Premiership titles – including the last two in Deila’s reign – but rivals Rangers return after four years away next season.

Mon 23 May, 2016
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