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Brendan Rodgers is a name that divides the Celtic support.

An undoubted success during his two-and-a-half years in charge of the club, he won every trophy that was available to him domestically, with his team playing an attractive brand of football in the process. Players such as Scott Sinclair and Moussa Dembele became Celtic heroes under his management.

However, all of this was overshadowed by the way he exited the club midway through the season in 2019. He left Celtic in the lurch, taking the majority of the backroom staff with him to Leicester City. It was up to former manager Neil Lennon, assisted by John Kennedy and Stevie Woods, to pick up the pieces in the interim, before getting the job permanently at the end of the season.

READ MORE: Celtic's managerial hunt: Everything we know so far

Over four years later, Rodgers is now being linked with the vacant manager’s role at Celtic once again, with bookmakers placing him as the favourite ahead of Manchester City coach Enzo Maresca. It's been reported that Michael Nicholson and Chris McKay travelled to Rodgers’ holiday home in Mallorca over the weekend to discuss the job with him.

Currently out of work following his dismissal at Leicester, Rodgers was reportedly considering a year’s sabbatical before returning to management, but this could be set to dramatically change following this fresh approach.

For Celtic’s sake, let us hope this is the case. Regardless of what you think about Rodgers as a person or how he left the club, it cannot be denied that he is an elite-level manager who brought unprecedented success during his tenure. Arriving as a direct response to Rangers’ Scottish Cup semi-final victory while Ronny Deila was in charge, Celtic were transformed under the Northern Irishman, both on and off the pitch.

Instantly, the standards were set. The squad was cleared of any deadwood, and those who could not adapt to Rodgers’ philosophies quickly fell by the wayside. Previous stalwarts such as Charlie Mulgrew, Stefan Johansen and Kris Commons were deemed surplus to requirements under the new manager, indicating a shift in philosophy and mindset was well underway.

Even though Deila won three trophies in his two seasons in charge of Celtic, this change immediately felt like a step up in quality had taken place in all aspects of the club.

There are no two ways about it, Rodgers is a winner, much like the man he would be replacing in Ange Postecoglou. Both share similarities in their possession-based style of play and their hunger for success, which is evident in their trophy haul during their respective spells at the club. These similarities would ensure that a smooth transition would take place, with the players at the club not needing to adapt their style too much in order to meet Rodgers’ standards.

Out of all the realistic names linked with the vacant role at Parkhead, Rodgers is the best candidate for the job, as well as the safest. Despite his final season being a disaster at Leicester, he did lead the side to an FA Cup win in 2021 as well as four top-half finishes, two of these in fifth place. Linked with jobs such as Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur during his time down south, Rodgers was a hot prospect before a challenging final season.

Despite some exciting individuals being connected, now may be the best time to draft in a safe pair of hands to ensure that Postecoglou’s treble-winning team are in the best possible shape to further improve. Names such as Maresca, Kjetil Knutsen and Francesco Farioli have intrigued the support over the last week. However, they also come attached with an element of risk, leaving the prospect of Rodgers coming back the safest and most risk-free route to go down.

READ MORE: Does a Celtic return makes sense for Brendan Rodgers

A lot of supporters will not be able to forgive him for what happened four years ago, but times have moved on for both parties. 'Ten in a Row' is long gone, along with the pressure and expectancy that it brought to the table. In order to remedy this fractured relationship, winning football matches would be a great place to start for Rodgers if he agrees to the job.

Celtic are in a healthy place both financially and squad-wise, which makes them an attractive proposition for any manager. Despite the cries of upset from sectors within the fanbase, there are others who would welcome the return of the manager who delivered the Invincible Treble in his first season.

If Celtic want to ensure that their dominance in domestic football is effectively secured for the short to medium-term, then Rodgers is the man for the job. Under his management previously, Celtic winning the league was a formality, a trend that would hopefully continue if he was to return.

It is time for Celtic fans to forgive Rodgers and metaphorical bridges should be built for the sake of the success of the football club going forward.

This piece is an extract from the latest Celtic Digest newsletter, which is emailed out every weekday evening with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from The Celtic Way team.

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