Rodgers surprise at Gerrard ‘arrival’

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers was “a little bit surprised” to see Steven Gerrard linked to the manager’s job at city rivals Rangers.

The Liverpool Under-18s boss has emerged as front-runner for the post ahead of the Light Blues’ trip to Parkhead tomorrow.

Former England captain Gerrard was Liverpool’s skipper when Rodgers was in charge at Anfield.

“I’ve seen the speculation over the last couple of days and I was a little bit surprised. But the most important thing when you are starting out is when you feel the time is right and when you feel ready, especially when it is about your first job.

“It is not necessarily about a club, it is about the right club.

“And if the speculation is right and Stevie has spoken to them then maybe there is something in that, that he feels that it is the right club.

“I know he has always wanted to be a manager, I know that from my time working closely with him at Liverpool, it was something that he wanted to do.

“So if it happens for him then he will obviously feel it is right and the right club to start at.”

Rodgers, whose side can clinch their seventh successive title against Rangers, was reluctant to expand too much on the challenges Gerrard would face in Scottish football.

Rodgers surprise at Gerrard ‘arrival’

The former Swansea boss noted Graeme Murty still occupies the Ibrox hot-seat even if his hopes of getting it past the end of the season probably ended with the recent 4-0 Scottish Cup semi-final defeat by Celtic at Hampden Park.

Rodgers said of Gerrard: “First and foremost it is the football challenge. He has lived with expectation all his life playing with Liverpool and captaining England as well.

“So I think when you go into any job and in particular at the big clubs there is always that expectancy.

“But like I say, it is all speculation, when with all due respect, you already have a manager that is in place working at Rangers.

Ahead of the potential title decider, Celtic defender Dedryck Boyata has described the Old Firm experience as “crazy”.

The 27-year-old Belgium international, who joined the Hoops on a four-year contract from Manchester City in 2015, said: “For me, coming from abroad and not knowing the history, at first when I heard about it I thought it was just a derby game like I would see in Manchester but it is definitely not.

“It is much crazier. But it is a game you want to play in. When you are on the pitch it is unbelievable.

“For the moment we have been on the good side of it so it is a moment we have always enjoyed. As a player you can see how it feels for the people around us and it is good to be there.”

Rodgers surprise at Gerrard ‘arrival’

The authorities tried to avoid scheduling a post-split fixture which could see Celtic clinch the title against their city rivals.

However, the Hoops’ 2-1 defeat by Hibernian at Easter Road last week has led to exactly that scenario.

Rodgers, nominated for the PFA Scotland manager of the year award along with Kilmarnock’s Steve Clarke, Neil Lennon of Hibernian and St Mirren’s Jack Ross, said: “It clearly wasn’t overly thought out because last week they sent us to probably the most in-form team that is playing - away to Hibs.

“So there clearly wasn’t too much thought put into it.

“But the way it goes up here, the last five games are going to be tough games, no matter who you play.

“We just want to win it as early as we can. We have four opportunities to win and we hope to take it on the next one.

“I have always said it doesn’t really matter who you clinch it against, home or away. You just want to win it.

“What is nice is if we can win it in front of our own supporters.

“Last year was away at HRodgers will assess the fitness of striker Moussa Dembele and midfielder Stuart Armstrong.


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