Reds boss not surprised by move for rival Rodgers

Former Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers and Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes
Former Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers and Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes

Dons boss Derek McInnes insists it is no surprise Celtic’s Brendan Rodgers became a wanted man in the English top flight after the double-treble.

Rodgers has joined Premier League Leicester City as replacement for Claude Puel who was sacked by the Foxes on Sunday.

Celtic reluctantly agreed to let their manager talk to Leicester having reached a potential compensation package of £6 million.

Rodgers won all seven domestic honours available to him since taking charge at Parkhead in 2016.

McInnes has been Rodgers’ main challenger during his time in Scotland and lost out to his Hoops side in three domestic finals.

Under McInnes, Aberdeen also finished runners-up in both seasons Rodgers led the Parkhead side to the Premiership title.

Rodgers was on course for another league title as Celtic are currently eight points ahead of second-placed Rangers.

Chances of an historic treble-treble were still alive as Celtic remain in the Scottish Cup and are set to face Hibs in the quarter-finals on Saturday.

McInnes said: “ You are never totally surprised because Brendan is a very good manager.

“And when very good managers are doing well they are going to be linked with other jobs.

“I am pretty sure that the timing is not ideal for Brendan as like any manager he would probably want to do these things at the end of the season.

“There is no doubt that he has earned the right to have a decision to make. We wish him well.”

Rodgers’ shock exit has caused seismic repercussions within Scottish football.

Celtic are eight points clear at the table but, minus Rodgers, rivals could suddenly be invigorated at the chance of a late Premiership title battle.

Former Parkhead boss Neil Lennon has come in as a replacement until the end of the season.

He has started immediately, as Celtic travel to face Hearts tonight.

Lennon led Celtic to three league titles and two Scottish Cups during his time as manager before leaving in 2014.

He was a free agent having left Hibs last month – ironically the club Celtic face at the weekend.

The Hoops’ next home game is against Aberdeen on Premiership action next Saturday.

McInnes insists the situation at Celtic will have no repercussions for his own team.

Asked if the situation offered hope to clubs like Aberdeen, he said: “It doesn’t give us any more hope.

“We just have to deal with what we have to deal with.

“It is always for us just trying to win and compete and nothing changes regardless of who is in charge at other clubs.”

The English top flight does not represent unknown territory to Rodgers as he guided Swansea to promotion to the Premier League.

In their first season the Swans finished 11th.

At the end of that term Rodgers moved to Liverpool. In his second season at Anfield under his guidance Liverpool launched a serious title bid and were top of the table late on.

However, slip-ups against Chelsea and Crystal Palace saw Liverpool miss out on a first league title since 1990.

Rodgers was sacked by ’Pool in October 2015.

However, his appointment by Celtic the next summer was seen as a major coup.

McInnes said: “We said when Brendan came into the Scottish game he was a calibre of manager with the experience at a level that can only be a positive for the game.

“He has backed that up.

“Brendan was a brilliant ambassador for the Scottish game and has done the job that was asked of him and a bit more.”