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Brendan Rodgers: I couldn't be happier with my new Celtic deal

 

By Ronnie Esplin

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers signed a new four-year deal with the "greatest club in the world" and is hoping his star players stay for the ride.

The Ulsterman arrived on a one-year rolling contract last summer but has committed himself to the Parkhead club until 2021.

Celtic - who face Kilmarnock today - remain unbeaten domestically this season and clinched their sixth successive Premiership title last week with victory over Hearts at Tynecastle, keeping them on course for the treble in the process.

Rodgers played down the fact his new deal gives him the chance to lead Celtic to a record-breaking 10 titles in a row, but "would hope" contract talks with star players become easier.

He said: "We want to win the league and as long as I am here that will always be the aim.

"The length of contract wasn't necessarily built around that (winning 10 successive titles).

"It was more of a commitment looking forward in terms of improvement, seeing some of our young players through from the academy. I also had to think about the players I sat talking about contracts for and with.

"And it was going to be very hard for me to sit with Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, Tom Rogic and James Forrest and all these boys and ask them to commit their future, and me on a one-year rolling contract.

"It is a young squad, we have got some real good experience in there as well and over the course of four years that allows that group to develop and improve and I want to be a part of it.

"Players will always look at the manager and see how long he is connected to the club.

"If I am committed to the club fully, hopefully that makes it a little bit easier for them to make that decision. That is important."

The former Swansea and Liverpool boss insists the decision to sign was "very easy".

"It felt right," he said. "We have been talking for a little while and it felt the right thing to do. I couldn't be happier.

"Professionally and personally I'm in a great place. A few years ago I might have been in a rush. But you learn through experience that you have to cherish what you have. It's the beginning of the journey, we have only been here a short time.

"But there's a lot more to achieve, development of the club and that is exciting."

Asked if he had been questioned by friends in the game about working in Scotland, Rodgers said: "People in football respect and understand that of course the Scottish league, like a lot of European leagues, is not as competitive as the Premier League in England.

"But that's because it is the richest in the world. What the perception is around, I am not really bothered.

"For me, Celtic is the greatest club in the world. I have the privilege to manage it and while I manage it I want to make it the best I possibly can. I love being here, helping the players develop and making the team better."

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell added: "We had a fair idea of the man we were getting and we have got to know each other a little better.

"We have had an extraordinary season and on the back of that more than anything we have a plan, and fundamental and pivotal to that plan is Brendan.

"Brendan is an outstanding manager, we believe he is one of the top coaches in European football and world football."

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