Brendan Rodgers admitted he regrets the “hurt” he caused the Celtic fans when he left the club at the end of his previous spell in charge as he vowed to win over those who do not want him back at Parkhead.
The Northern Irishman addressed the acrimony that met his exit for Leicester in February 2019 as he faced the media on Friday for the first time since returning to the Hoops as Ange Postecoglou’s successor on Monday.
He said: “I would understand how the supporters would feel and I also know when I was here the first time and doing really well I also had critics.
“It was an emotional time, the club was going for 10 in a row. I hope I can still have (a good relationship with the supporters)
“It’s natural that when I left, it was a sad moment. I certainly don’t regret it but what I do regret is the hurt it caused people and that’s the very reason I’m sat here today.
“As a Celtic supporter I understood what it meant,” he added. “That was my regret – that I hurt people who were Celtic fans and it was a big part of coming back.
“I never get too emotional with words and I’m hoping in my time here I can have the impact I had in my first time.
“The expectations are greater and the pressure is greater because of what we did the first time and how I left but that’s what I wanted, it’s why I’m here. I want to take on that expectation and pressure.
“I’m here to win and for the people I’ve had lots of support from since I left and now that I’ve come back, I really thank them for that. And for the people that maybe don’t want me here, hopefully I can shift their opinion with the football we play and the success we can have.”
More to follow…
What is Celtic’s schedule?
Celtic players will return for pre-season training at the club’s Lennoxtown base before jetting out to Japan on tour in July.
Postecoglou’s former club Yokohama F Marinos will be their first opponents on July 19 followed by a match against Gamba Osaka on July 22.
Rodgers’ side then head to South Korea where they will play Wolves at the Suwon World Cup Stadium on July 26.
The club’s first competitive match under Rodgers takes place on the weekend of August 5/6 as Celtic kick-off their Scottish Premiership title defence before Champions League group stage action gets underway on September 19/20.
When are the SPFL fixtures announced?
Fixtures in the SPFL for the 2023/24 season will be released at 9am BST on Friday June 30.
We’ll have fixtures for each club live from 9am across our digital platforms, with Sky Sports News providing a comprehensive hour-long show looking at the major headlines.
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