The p-Rodge-igal son returns: why Celtic fans should forgive Brendan Rodgers

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The manager is understood to be closing in on a return to Celtic Park

Well, this shouldn’t be too awkward, I’m sure. The p-Rodge-igal son is returning to Glasgow with his fox’s tail between his legs, and forgiveness could be hard to come by. Or at least it could be until he’s wrapped up another haversack full of trophies this time next year.

For the uninitiated, here is the situation; Brendan Rodgers left Celtic four years ago to pursue fame and fortune among the bright lights of L.A. - that is, the general Leicester Area. His departure from Parkhead was not exactly amicable, and boasted a certain Milton-esque slant. That’s a very bad Paradise Lost joke. The Brodge then proceeded to win an FA Cup, nearly win a Europa Conference League, float about in the upper reaches of the Premier League’s mid-table for a bit, bomb immensely this season, and lose his job. Whirlwind.

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Meanwhile, north of the border, Celtic replaced sullen Northern Irishman Brendan Rodgers with sullen Northern Irishman Neil Lennon, who was subsequently replaced by charming Australian Ange Postecoglou. Lots and lots and lots of trophies have been won, as is the norm. In fact, so many trophies have been won that perpetually trophyless Tottenham Hotspur decided to take a punt on the aforementioned Postecoglou earlier this month in an effort to bring their own barren stint to an end.

As such, Celtic are without a manager once again, and their hunt for a suitable candidate has taken them right back to the doorstep of Rodgers. Talks are understood to be advanced between the two parties, and the 50-year-old is said to have won club chiefs over with a big pitch that outlines his plan to establish the Hoops as a considerable presence in European football. Seems to me like the sort of scheme you should probably look to enact during your first tenure at a club, but hey, what do I know?

Anyways, the expectation is that Rodgers will be back in Celtic sooner rather than later, and that he will once again be pitting his wits against the best and brightest in Scotland. Or Rangers. Basically, he just has to beat Rangers. The whole thing boasts a certain Milton-esque slant. That’s a very bad Paradise Regained joke.

How Rodgers will be received by the Bhoys’ fanbase upon his return remains to be seen, but I do sincerely hope that they can find it within their collective psyche to pardon him. At the end of the day, nobody can blame him for showing some ambition, and while things ended poorly at the King Power, there were large swathes of the past few campaigns where it seemed as if he had made a genuinely astute decision.

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Granted, the timing of his departure could have been better - as Rangers’ 2021 league title fully attests - but sometimes you have to take the plunge before the tide goes out. In the long term, it hasn’t affected Celtic’s status as the dominant force in Scottish football, and if anything, there is an argument to be made for the Hoops being in a stronger position than they were when he walked away, such has been the strength of Postecoglou’s stellar recruitment.

But ultimately, the wisdom of Rodgers’ homecoming, and the fondness with which he is embraced, will hinge on one thing and one thing alone; success. None of the acrimony will linger if he gets off to a flying start, and any residual ill feelings will dissipate entirely if he can fall immediately back into a habit of delivering trophies.

And let’s be honest here, you’d be a fool to bet against him doing exactly that. So, with that in mind, how about everybody just drops the act, pretends the whole trial separation never happened in the first place, and gets back to planning the open top bus parades?

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