Celtic boss Rodgers 'privileged' to help NI Hospice with launch of his autobiography
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers last night spoke of his admiration for the work of the Northern Ireland Hospice and how he always aims to represent his country in a positive light.
The Carnlough man was interviewed by Eamonn Holmes at the Waterfront Hall following the publication of his new autobiography The Road to Paradise, charting his extraordinary managerial career so far.
The 44-year-old began his coaching career with the Chelsea youth teams and went on to manage Watford, Reading, Swansea City and Liverpool before taking charge at Celtic Park, where his invincible side have just equalled the club's unbeaten domestic run of 62 games.
Proceeds of the autobiography will go to the Northern Ireland Hospice and Children's Hospices Across Scotland, a cause very close to Rodgers' heart after he lost both his parents, Malachy and Christina, to cancer.
Malachy died in 2011 at the age of 59 while Christina died at the age of 53, both within a year of each other.
At the beginning of the book, Rodgers states: 'To Malachy and Christina. It broke my heart when you both had to go, more than anyone will ever know. My life and work will always be dedicated to your memory.'
Before taking to the stage at the Waterfront Hall, the treble winning Celtic boss spoke of his pride at being from Northern Ireland and passionate support for the hospice.
"They do an amazing job," said the Ulsterman, who is an ambassador for Northern Ireland Hospice.
"I was very privileged and honoured when they asked me to come on board as an ambassador towards the end of my time at Liverpool.
"It's been a privilege to help them and raise money. They need to generate funding themselves so I'm determined to help. I'm keen to do that, it's an amazing place, the new hospice in north Belfast, and the work they do is incredible.
"I love coming back. I'm glad we played reasonably well against Bayern Munich (on Tuesday night) or I might have more questions," he joked.
"The chance to come here and for the cause as well, helping the charities and the support I have always had from Northern Ireland has been brilliant, regardless of what club I have been at.
"I have always seen it as part of my job to represent the country and be a positive influence through sport and charity. I want to do the country proud. There's definitely one Rangers supporter coming here that I know, a guy called Danny McCambridge. When I used to play football my ball used to go into his house. Danny was a big Rangers fan and when the ball went into his house I never saw it again or got it back burst, probably because I was wearing a Celtic kit.
"He might have one of those footballs to give back to me! I've respect for all football people regardless of who they support. It's a passionate country in terms of football support and the banter is good."
At Rodgers' request, Celtic Football Club has made a donation to each of Northern Ireland Hospice and Children's Hospices Across Scotland for the book launch and a further donation will be made by the club to each charity for every copy of the book sold.