Brendan Rodgers will have no summer respite from the demands of being Celtic manager but declared himself relaxed about the prospect of preparing for the next campaign without a proper holiday. The title holders will be back in training only 10 days after Scotland meet England in the World Cup qualifier at Hampden Park on June 10, an occasion Rodgers will try to use to give himself and his partner, Charlotte, a break before beginning his pre-season preparations.
“I try to ensure the international break gives you a time to recover,” Rodgers said. “At the end of the season time is minimal.
“As a leader, the two things you need are energy and happiness. I always try to have that so that I can inspire enthusiasm and go again. I don’t have much time to recharge my batteries, but that’s ok. I have to be detailed in how I look at it throughout the season but don’t worry, I’ll be fully charged up and ready.”
The same must apply to his phone, which cannot be put aside, a lesson learned when, as Swansea manager, he was part of a Football League group which travelled to Kenya on a fundraising exercise for the Marie Curie cancer charity. “No, those days are gone - you can’t just turn your phone off and go away,” he said.
“Once I nearly lost a player because I was halfway up Mount Kilimanjaro and had no signal. We got to the play-offs and we won and when I came back, Neil Taylor was nearly signing for Newcastle because they couldn’t contact me on the road to the top of Kilimanjaro - so I always make sure I have a good signal.
“I try to limit it, of course, but Charlotte loves it up here, she really enjoys it and loves the life. There are times when you get to spend your quality time together, but she respects that I love the job.
“You still have to switch off, but the happiness brings you success. I’ve found at times through experience and being a manager now for a while, that when you’re in your younger days and you’re trying to do everything and you’re up all hours of the day and night, some of that is wasted time.
“With the pressures of this job, you have to come out of the battle sometimes in order to refresh, re-think and give you reflective time to go again. I love football, I could talk football for 24 hours a day, but you have to come out of it at times to assess and re-assess.
“For me, the success will come, but you have to be happy, and that’s one of the reasons why I re-signed here. Also with that, you have to have the energy, because you need to keep pushing and driving forward.”
Rodgers won his first trophy as a manager when Celtic beat Aberdeen to take the Scottish League Cup and, with the championship also in the bag, is on course to supervise a clean sweep of the domestic honours. Celtic's Easter Sunday fixture is in Dingwall against Ross County, whose manager, Jim McIntyre, acquired his first piece of silverware when they beat Hibs in the 2016 Scottish League Cup final.
County, though, are embroiled in the dogfight to avoid relegation, a situation which has caused some Staggies fans to turn on McIntyre. Rodgers, though, offered the dissidents some words of caution, when he said: “You’re not always going to have success and, when it doesn’t quite go as you want it and there’s a little dip, you need that support, that help.
“Thankfully, it looks like Jim’s got a very good chairman there who’s done an outstanding job. He clearly supports his managers and, OK, it might not be as good this season as last season, but one thing is for sure – if the season doesn’t pan out as you want, you’re even more determined to make sure to do well the next season.
“So, give the guy a chance who wants to go again. It’s not all linear. You have landmarks and you have setbacks. Jim made a landmark by winning the Scottish League Cup.
“There have been some setbacks this year but it’s OK. He’s clearly showed that he’s a good manager. I’ve a lot of time for Jim. He was a good player at Reading. He had a couple of injuries but he’s one of the boys that Tommy Burns brought in and the one who stayed the longest.
“His teams are hard to beat. Unfortunately, some results haven’t gone well for him but he’s a good manager.”