'That’s the league we are in': Celtic's Brendan Rodgers addresses sack culture and fears around Scottish football
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers believes fear of relegation and the sack culture around Scottish managers could be stifling the development of youngsters and the football played in the country’s top flight.
However, the fact that Premiership opponents – a third of whom have jettisoned their men at the helm already in this campaign – will tend to sit in against his side and make domestic encounters often wars of attrition, as Motherwell did for their 1-1 draw in Glasgow last weekend, can’t be used to explain away Celtic’s struggles in the Champions League as they face “a different sport” with the calibre of opponent that demands they withstand the sort of attacking pressure their home environment provides meagre experience of dealing with.
“It’s the league isn’t it? There’s different styles,” said Rodgers. “You have to find the solution and the way. It’s the nature of the league. It’s not the EPL where week in week out it’s different challenges, more teams. But that’s the league we are in so it’s always going to be a challenge. Going into the UCL then it’s about quality. You can still do well domestically and do well in Europe if you have the required quality. You just have to become better at what you do. Europe is a different sort of game but that’s the league.
“Not every [Scottish} team sits in. Motherwell started the season a bit like that, then they opened up and conceded a lot of goals and then they camped back in again. It’s not so much a problem as a challenge we need to find a solution to. We know we have to deal with that for the next seven months. Clearly in Europe there is more space, there is more dynamism in the game and physicality. It’s a different sport.
“There is no doubt that there is a fear around the game. If you look at the number of managers who have already moved on. The fear of relegation from a monetary position is really influencing decisions. For young players too, is there a block? Or a fear that leads teams to go for experience. So does that age band miss out on playing? In the bigger picture, looking around some of the other leagues in Europe, they might be wealthier than us but in relevant terms they are finding it hard to progress too. The financial gain in the EPL is huge and that has allowed their teams to progress. How can you make the game financially better while allowing young players to develop?”