GLASGOW (AFP) – Scottish champions Celtic on Friday named former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers as their new manager with the target of translating their domestic success into solid European progress.
Rodgers, 43, replaces Ronny Deila who stepped down at the end of a two-year spell which brought in two league titles and a League Cup crown but just frustration on the continent.
Rodgers, who has penned a 12-month rolling contract, was previously in charge at Swansea, Reading and Watford while he spent three years at Liverpool before being sacked in October.
“I am absolutely delighted to be named Celtic manager,” said Rodgers.
“This is genuinely a huge honour for me. I have followed Celtic all my life and to be given this fantastic opportunity and to be part of such a truly great football club is a dream come true.”
Rodgers’ first games will be the Champions League qualifiers in mid-July and he will look to take them to the group stages after an absence of two years under Deila.
“The club has been in magnificent shape in recent years and has collected silverware regularly during this time,” added the Northern Irishman.
“My objective now, of course, is to continue this work, to keep us at the top and again make our mark in Europe.
“I have followed Celtic all my life and to be given this fantastic opportunity and to be part of such a truly great football club is a dream come true.
“I will give my new role everything I have and do all I can to bring our supporters exciting, entertaining and winning football.
“I know what a magnificent support Celtic enjoys and I can promise our fans one thing – that I will be doing everything I can to give you a team that you can be proud of and a team that delivers.
“I can’t wait to be in Celtic Park with our team and our fans as we all get to work.”
Rodgers will also face the challenge of old rivals Rangers as the Ibrox club will return to the top flight for the first time four years.
Rangers boss Mark Warburton knows Rodgers from their time together at Watford.
“He’s very experienced, well organised, a good motivator, a good man-manager. He’s a manager of the highest quality,” said Warburton.
“He’s worked in the Premier League and came within a slip of winning it, so there’s no doubting Brendan’s qualities.”
Rodgers came close to masterminding Liverpool’s first English title since 1990 in 2013/14, only for their challenge to slip away.
Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell described Rodgers as “a special manager.”
He said: “We wanted to bring one of the biggest and best names to the club to match our own aspirations and those of our supporters – we believe, in appointing Brendan, that we have done this.”
“We have appointed a special manager and we are sure he can bring some special times to Celtic.
“Brendan is a highly-sought after manager and we are pleased that we have been able to bring such a high calibre individual to Celtic.
“He has a huge and genuine affection for the club.
I know Brendan feels privileged to be named Celtic manager and I know he will give us everything he has to be successful at Celtic.”