IF somebody had suggested back in 2012 that the players who had refused to have their contracts transferred from the Rangers oldco to the newco under TUPE regulations after HMRC had rejected the CVA that would have saved the Ibrox club would one day be given standing ovations by supporters they would have been laughed, or chased, out of Govan.

The ill-feeling that was directed towards Sone Aluko, Steven Davis, Kyle Lafferty, Rhys McCabe, Allan McGregor, Steven Naismith, James Ness, Steven Whittaker and others during that traumatic period was considerable. They had, in the eyes of the fans who had been put through so much anguish and heartache, turned their back on them in their greatest hour of need and cashed in on their dire predicament.

Yet, the rebels were, it was subsequently shown, perfectly entitled legally to take such a course of action. Their misgivings about the new club hierarchy, Imran Ahmad, Charles Green, Brian Stockbridge et al, were also proved to be well-founded in due course.

The £22m raised by Rangers at a share offering later that year quickly evaporated as executives made ill-considered investments while awarding themselves substantial salaries not to mention enormous bonuses for one of the largest clubs in Britain beating part-time minnows to win the Third Division title.

Ahmad, Green and Stockbridge soon departed themselves as the financial health of the club once again deteriorated and unsatisfactory progress was made on the park as a result. The wrath that had once been directed at their fallen idols was quickly turned on those who occupied the boardroom.

McGregor, Lafferty and Davis have all, as a result of the difficult seasons of mediocrity and mismanagement that Rangers have endured since their acrimonious exit, been greeted like returning heroes this season.

Acquiring three proven international footballers was rightly seen as a positive step in Rangers’ ongoing attempts to return to the top of the Scottish game, compete in Europe and challenge their city rivals for major honours. Their previous actions have long since been forgiven and forgotten.

There are few obvious comparisons, other than perhaps the anger which their decisions to move on provoked, which can be drawn between the Rangers players moving on seven years ago and Brendan Rodgers leaving Celtic to join Leicester City before the title was won earlier this season.

But the fact that, over time, supporters have found it in their hearts to let bygones be bygones shows that Rodgers can one day be welcomed back at Parkhead.

Scott Brown, who forged a close bond with Rodgers during his two-and-three-quarter years in this country, expressed hope last week that the Northern Irishman would in future be remembered for all that he achieved rather than the controversial manner in which he left.

The club captain and midfielder also suggested the former Swansea and Liverpool man could one day return to the dugout at Celtic when the current furore dies down.

“I’m hoping that could happen,” he said. “It would be amazing. I think when people look back in ten years’ time and see how well he did and look at his record and see it’s not bad.

“For me, he was unbelievable. He made the last two and a half years of my career so exciting. He pushed me on to levels I would never have hit if he hadn’t come in and put that trust and belief into me. For me, he was a genius when he came in.”

Rodgers was back in Glasgow on Friday to attend the funeral of Billy McNeill along with his predecessors Martin O’Neill and Gordon Strachan. It was a time for bitterness and recrimination to take a back seat and the life of a great man to be both honoured and remembered. But can he ever come back in different circumstances in future?

The 46-year-old, whose Leicester side has won five, drawn one and lost just two of the games he has had since taking over, has ambitions to win trophies in England with the King Power Stadium club and also to qualify for Europe. Working abroad, too, is a long-held objective for a man who worked in Spain when he was completing his coaching qualifications.

But an individual who is as conscious of his public image as Rodgers is will have been wounded by the reaction to his departure. The chance to redeem himself with the Celtic support could well appeal to him in future. Never say never. He refused to rule out the possibility back in March.

“I would be hugely, hugely disappointed if I never could (go back to Parkhead),” he said. I would be incredibly disappointed if I never could after everything that I’ve given. If that was the case then . . . .

“Would I work in Scotland again? Of course I would. I loved every single second of being there. When it calms down in maybe 10 years I could maybe go back to Celtic. Absolutely. 100 per cent.”

If the Glasgow club are not enjoying such good fortune on the field in future are in need of reviving then those fans who have attacked the man from Carnlough will quickly change their tune and applaud him down London Road.

Rodgers wasn’t present when Celtic won their eighth consecutive title and their eighth successive domestic trophy at Pittodrie on Saturday. But he is ultimately who is responsible for the triumph. Whoever is brought in to succeed him on a permanent basis, whether it is Neil Lennon or somebody else, will be doing very well indeed to maintain his extraordinary success.

The passage of time will see Brendan Rodgers viewed in a different and far more favourable light at Celtic.


Brendan Rodgers narrowly failed to win the English title when he was Liverpool manager back in 2014.

But could the Northern Irishman help the Anfield club to end their 29 year wait to be crowned champions once again this season?

His Leicester City side take on Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium this evening in their penultimate Premier League fixture.

A draw or a win would put Jurgen Klopp's side in front going into the final weekend of what has been a compelling title race.

Having won five of his eight games since moving to the King Power Stadium and beaten Arsenal 3-0 last week nothing can be ruled out.