Celtic see off approaches from Premier League clubs for Brendan Rodgers, who says he’s happy at the Hoops

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers at full- time (SNS)
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers at full- time (SNS)

CELTIC have seen off approaches for Brendan Rodgers from two English Premier League predators.

The clubs, understood to be West Ham and Rodgers’ old club Swansea City, both wanted to give the Hoops boss the opportunity to return south to work in England’s top flight again.

Their hopes were dashed, though, when they were given no encouragement from both Celtic and their target.

“Yes, I have been aware of possibilities, as have the club, but it’s not on my radar at all. I’m very happy,” said Rodgers.

“My love and passion is here, for a number of reasons.

“What I appreciate more than anything now is happiness.

“I saw a friend of mine pass away this week in Dermot Drummy (the former Chelsea coach), and there’s obviously a real sadness for him, and his family.

“It makes you wonder about football and life.

“What I’ve gathered from when I left Liverpool, and had that seven months out, allowed me to reflect that the next club I came to, I wanted to be happy in.

“There’s ambition, but I’m working at one of the biggest clubs in the world, and certainly one of the biggest in Britain. So I’m in no rush to leave for a number of reasons.

“I’m very happy in my work, and I still feel there is a lot for me to do here and to achieve. And while I have the goodwill of the Board and the supporters – and they believe in what I’m doing – I’m very, very happy to be here.

“I don’t know where else I could go to get the feeling to come in and work like I do, to develop players and help different departments.

“The Premier League is brilliant. I loved it there and I worked with two great clubs.

“This is never to say that I won’t go back there one day, but there’s not even a notion that I’m thinking of.

“I genuinely love it here and I’m really happy at Celtic. The club has real belief in what I’m doing, which is important.

“There is a test for me here, despite what people say. There are not many clubs in Britain where you’ve got to win virtually every game you play, and there are certainly not too many clubs at our level who are expected to go and beat PSG!

“So I’m very, very happy in my professional life, and I really, really enjoy living up here.

“The family is happy, we have a good life, so it’s not something I’m even considering.”

Rodgers good fortune has, meanwhile, allowed him to be philosophical about an attack on his players.

Former Anderlecht coach and club star, Paul van Himst had a go, ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League meeting.

Deeply displeased by his old team’s 3-0 defeat when they met in Brussels earlier in the group, he called Celtic a team of “peasants” and likened them to “lumberjacks”, which surprised Rodgers.

“I haven’t seen that, but that’s interesting,” he said.

“Listen, it happens. Things are always said, and I suppose with their budget and where they are at – the club and the history they have – they would have been expecting to have beaten us, especially at home.

“They have maybe looked at our budget and where we’re at, and we’ve probably shocked them really that we won and played well.

“I suppose if you look at it from their perspective and sit in their shoes, Belgium are a nation that has really taken off and have this golden generation of players.

“Anderlecht have a big history, and they look at us here playing in what they would deem at a lesser level and in a lesser league.

“We have nowhere near the finances that they have, and yet they got outplayed and were beaten.

“I wouldn’t have thought they will take us for granted again this time.

“It’s always good to have that humility within your squad and within your team, and certainly from our perspective we will respect them, but look to play our own game.”

Whether another win for the Scottish champions yields more sour grapes from former Belgium coach, Van Himst, only time will tell.