Brendan Rodgers: Celtic 'not a step down' from the Premier League

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My job is to inspire Celtic - Rodgers

New manager Brendan Rodgers says the Celtic job is not a step down from the Premier League.

The Northern Irishman, 43, has signed a 12-month rolling contract in succession to Ronny Deila, who left the Scottish champions at the end of the season.

"Celtic's one of the biggest clubs in the world, and for me to come up here out of the Premier League, it's certainly not a step down," he said.

"It's an institution in its own right," added the former Liverpool manager.

"I've been a Celtic supporter all my life," said Rodgers, who left Anfield in October after more than three years in charge.

"I've been very lucky to have been given an opportunity to step out the stands and manage the team."

In addition to extending Celtic's run of five domestic league titles and making progress in the Champions League, Rodgers cited creating sufficient excitement among the support to regularly fill Celtic Park again as one of his objectives.

"Myself, my staff and players will be doing everything we possibly can to meet the challenges set for us - dominate Scotland, and to qualify for the Champions League," the former Swansea boss said.

Celtic Park
Fans flocked to Celtic Park to welcome the club's new manager

"My idea is to get the stands filled again. I think in the last few years the top tier of the Lisbon Lions Stand has been closed or empty.

"It's my job to get over 60,000-odd people in here again and inspire the supporters to come back and watch a game of football that excites them, that's about scoring goals and is about winning."

One of Rodgers' first tasks is likely to be trimming a squad that numbers 31 - including nine players out on loan from last season - given he stated he prefers to work with a "tighter squad" of around two players for each position as well as three goalkeepers.

He expects to confirm the makeup of his backroom staff "over the course of the next couple of weeks".

Peter Lawwell and Brendan Rodgers
Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell joined Rodgers for his opening press conference

'First look is to the youth team'

While Rodgers said he has the backing of biggest individual shareholder Dermot Desmond and chief executive Peter Lawwell in terms of transfer funds, he emphasised his "first look" would be to the youth team to improve the first-team squad.

"I know I won't have the same budget as what I've been used to before [in the Premier League]," he said.

"But I've been given enough assurances if the right player becomes available and we can afford him [we'll try to sign him] - that's the same at any football club, whatever level.

"You have restraints up here but affordability and availability are the two key aspects of getting any player and hopefully when we identify a player that fits, we can get him here."

Lawwell said it was important to strike a balance between "creating value" from existing squad members and recruiting established players.

"We've got to realise here we live within our means, we create value from finding and developing players or from our own," said the long-standing chief executive.

"But it's a bit of both and if there are players we feel can compliment the way we're developing, that would be there as well, as it was for Ronny."

Brendan Rodgers arriving at Celtic Park
Rodgers was given a warm reception by an estimated 10,000 fans at Celtic Park

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