Brendan Rodgers Celtic TV Q&A in full as boss sends important message to fans

Brendan Rodgers sat down with Celtic TV for his first interview of the season
-Credit: (Image: Celtic TV)

Double-winning boss Brendan Rodgers admits he can't wait for the new season to start as he targets more success at Celtic.

The Northern Irishman led the Hoops to Premiership and Scottish Cup glory last season as the Hoops managed to see off the threat of a resurgent Rangers. Philippe Clement is desperate to close the gap on the Scottish champions and has already brought in a raft of new signings as part of his summer rebuild at Ibrox.

Celtic have yet to open the chequebook but are locked in talks with Norwich City over the permanent signing of Adam Idah. A new first-choice keeper is also a top priority and Rodgers admits pre-season is the ideal time to allow his new signings to settle into the group.

Celtic begin their warm-up to the new campaign with a trip to Ayr United tomorrow where they'll encounter a familiar face in the dugout in iconic captain Scott Brown. Rodgers revealed he bumped into the Quadruple Treble-winning skipper on holiday in Majorca but also stressed the importance of the Hoops helping out Scottish clubs in the lower divisions.

The four-in-a-row chasers - who returned to pre-season training last week - will then take on Queen's Park before flying out for their tour of the USA, where they'll face DC United, Manchester City and Chelsea. Rodgers has been running the rule over a threadbare squad at Lennoxtown with most of the club's international stars granted extended leave but he's looking forward to being reunited with his top stars later in the month.

Rodgers sat down with Celtic TV - who will screen all five of the club's summer friendlies - for his first interview ahead of the new campaign and you can read it all below.

Happy to be back?

Yes, it's absolutely brilliant to be back. We had a great end to the season, I think everybody enjoyed the off-season. But it's really nice to be back, and good to see the players and the staff again.

Setting targets

At that point, it was really about enjoying that present time about winning. We saw that in the Scottish Cup Final when I got all the guys in on that line to get a real sense of that present moment and enjoy it. Maybe before that, it sometimes can pass you by. But then that's gone. You take the acclaim, a fantastic end to the season, go away and recover, but now you come back and you re-focus. It's all about sacrifice and commitment going forward. It's about creating that mindset over the coming weeks.

Flag day

It's a great day. That flag goes up and it's a symbol of the great work we've done the season before. But it's also a sign for everyone - players, staff and supporters - of the challenges that are ahead and they start on that very day. It's a wonderful day to have those feelings about what we achieved. But also knowing it's the start of another really exciting season.

Importance of pre-season

This is where they build a lot of their base fitness. Of course, we have a lot of players who will dripfeed themselves back in over the course of the next few weeks. So not everyone is here but by the time the first game of the season comes, the players will be at a really good level. It's where you have time to build that base fitness, look at the vision going forward and what you want to achieve around your goals and values, and also with the introduction of new players into the club. It's a vital period for your preparation.

Facing Scott Brown

I've actually seen him over the course of the summer. I bumped into him in Majorca and invited him round to my house. So we had a nice few hours talking about Celtic, football and management. It was great to see him and I look forward to seeing him again. If he's anywhere near a manager that he was a player, then he's going to be a fantastic manager. But these are the early steps of Scott's career and he's still in that process of learning. But he's so much to bring to the game as a manager, I feel. I always enjoy seeing him and obviously now, even though it's a pre-season game, it'll always be nice to be on the touchline with him."

USA tour

You build your way through pre-season. Firstly, I think it's important to recognise teams at home. Teams like Ayr and Queen's Park, they are really important clubs back here at home and we want to be able to help and support those clubs. Then I think going away to America for our football fitness, we come up against a level of opponent which is the very highest level, especially Chelsea and Manchester City so that elevates your game and fitness to another level. DC United are obviously one of the MLS teams, so that's always good. But I also think as well, bringing Celtic to the world is also important. Going back to America for the first time in a number of years, it's a really special country and taking the club there obviously develops and grows the brand of Celtic around the world which is also important in the modern game.

Message to fans

We're just going to work very, very hard over the course of this pre-season. We look forward to seeing you again in some of the games locally, and if you're travelling to America we look forward to seeing you then. It feels a much different place than 12 months ago, coming back. So I'm really excited about this season and producing a team and a level of football that they can be very proud of. We look forward to seeing them on the journey over this pre-season and then we all get ready to unite and go forward together for what will be a really exciting season with the new format of the Champions League and everyone being together."