NADIR CIFTCI summed up Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic government.
Now the former Hoops forward thinks his old gaffer is the perfect man to succeed Ange Postecoglou.
Ciftci scored a 2-2 draw against Slovenian club Celje in the Rodgers’ first pre-season friendly.
And he admits he knew from day one with the ex-Liverpool manager something special was about to happen at Parkhead.
Losing 1-0 to Minnows Lincoln Red Imps could have been a false start to Champions League qualifying.
Ciftci expected some hilarity – but Rodgers’ calmness took the pressure off the team.
And they retaliated with a 3-0 win in the second leg and then qualified for the group stage for the first time in three seasons.
Postecoglou lifted five of six trophies during his two seasons in charge and Ciftci backed Rodgers to maintain Celtic’s domestic dominance.
He said: “From day one when Brendan came in I felt like he was the right man for the club.
“The amount of trophies he has won has shown that I was right to think so.
“The way he spoke, the way he made you feel and his workouts were all amazing.
“We were in Slovenia preparing for the season and you just had the feeling that something special was going to happen this year.
“It was hard work, but he made you feel comfortable.
“It’s hard to explain exactly what he does to make you feel that way, but there’s something special about him.
“Brendan gives you a lot of confidence when he talks to you and you want to repay him for it. His people skills are outstanding and he is a great communicator.
“When he came he managed to get us back into the group stage of the Champions League for the first time in three years.
“It was a great performance considering we lost to the Lincoln Red Imps in his first game.”
“I still remember the game and it was a terrible result.
“No disrespect to them but a club like Celtic shouldn’t lose to a side like Red Imps.
“We were ashamed when we left the park.
“For a club like Celtic and all the success we’ve had, we shouldn’t lose this game.
“It can happen in football and I was worried about how Brendan would react.
“But he came into the dressing room and was so calm about everything – and that actually helped.
“I don’t remember him ever going mad in the dressing room, even when things weren’t going the way he wanted.
“He was looking for solutions instead of just yelling at us and going insane.
“That can put more pressure on you as a player.
“Brendan was never like that. He took the pressure off and explained what we could do better to improve.
“He’s always been calm and he’s a very intelligent man.
“In the past, some managers would yell and yell at you when something wasn’t going right, but that wasn’t Brendan’s style.
“We ended up having an incredible season and winning the first of his triples.
“Everyone knows what Brendan has to offer.
“He knows what the expectations are at Celtic and the success he’s had with the triple treble in his first tenure has been incredible.
“If he returns to Celtic I’m confident he can do it all again.
“The players will know about Brendan and everyone at the club knows how good he is.
“He was great to me as a person, even though my time at Celtic didn’t go as I had hoped.
“But it wasn’t Brendan’s fault, the way he treated me was great.
“The way he treated the players was great. In fact, his people management has always been top notch.
“He has big shoes to fill as Ange has performed so well in his two years as coach and he is a legend at the club.”
“But Brendan is already a legend and I have no doubt he will continue to be and keep Celtic as a successful club.”
Some Hoops fans are delighted to welcome back the man who joined Leicester City in February 2019, while others are far from delighted.
Ciftci knows it could be some time before some fans forgive Rodgers for turning his back on them.
But he reckons the success at the park will make them forget his exit four years ago.
The 31-year-old, who also played for Dundee United, Motherwell and St Johnstone, added: “If some fans don’t want Brendan back, that’s not a problem.
“Fans are passionate about Celtic, they think with their hearts and they can be emotional.
“But if he comes back I have no doubt that he will bring even more success to the club.
“I think he’ll make them forget he left the first time.
“In football there are moments in life when you feel like you have to endure it and you do it without even thinking about it.
“You think it’s the right club for you, but with hindsight you realize it wasn’t what you needed back then.
“Brendan left for Leicester in the middle of the season and it might be difficult for some fans to accept at first.
“But things happen for a reason and sometimes you make decisions that are not just about football.
“Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. That’s just life.
“Brendan has brought incredible success to the club and he can do it again.
“Holding a grudge against Brendan isn’t going to help.
“Everyone has to get behind him and give him their full support – and if they do that then I’m sure he’ll do well again for the club.”
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