Brendan Rodgers reacts to Philippe Clement Rangers anger over Celtic 'have fun' comments

Brendan Rodgers admits he was surprised at the reaction to him saying Celtic would "have fun" against Rangers.

Following victory over Hearts last week, the Hoops boss talked about how his team would go on to work hard in training through the week and then look to enjoy the derby at the weekend. With a lot riding on the game and more jeopardy for the Light Blues, their manager Philippe Clement took offence.

The Belgian felt it was disrespectful towards him and his team and insisted he would never say that about a rival. Several pundits have had their say this week with most feeling that wasn't how Rodgers had intended his comments. And the Northern Irishman has now had the chance to give his own response.

Asked if he was taken aback by the outcry 'across the city', he said: "Yeah. I think anyone who was at my press conference would have sensed the way in which it was said. Obviously the reaction to that is totally without merit and has no context whatsoever.

"I would never refer to these games other than being intense, being competitive. So we never talk about the game as that, but we talk about the occasion. It's one of the most iconic games in world football and I love it. It's one of the reasons I'm here and the great pride and privilege I have of managing Celtic in a Rangers game.

"I've seen some of the headlines around the disrespect and whatever. Totally without merit, it was never in that context being said. And I never would be that person to disrespect another manager, another team."