Celtic have not only dominated the Scottish football in current years but also produced stars of world football who have plied their trade to Premier League and playing with distinction in the top tier. Celtic had an unbeaten treble-winning domestic campaign last term under newly appointed boss Brendan Rodgers and likely to repeat the same this season as well. They have been the undisputed Premiership triumphant since Rangers’ downfall and although the Light Blues are now back in the top tier, Celtic have progressed immensely and stretched the gap by miles in their absence.
There was a time when the great Celtic – Rangers rivalry was one of the biggest talking points of world football and Ki Sung-Yeung, who represented the Hoops on those glorified years, was recollecting his days back at Parkhead and the complexity of working under the then gaffer Neil Lennon that he thoroughly enjoyed. The current Swansea City midfielder has also been mentored by Brendan Rodgers, the former Swans boss, in his debut Premier League campaign and impressed many with his passing, pressing and all-round quality. Rodgers is now in charge of Celtic and Ki has hailed his former boss for building a ‘really competitive’ squad labelling them ‘much better’ than the side he used to be a part of under Neil Lennon in the span of 2010-12.
“The current team is much better than when I was there. Brendan Rodgers is the manager who has made the team really competitive. When I saw they hadn’t lost 60 or 70 games I thought that was an incredible achievement.”
Stated the 29-year-old South Korean skipper on the eve of his nation’s clash against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park.
Ki won the Premiership title in the 2011-12 campaign and also the Scottish Cup trophy the season before. Although he sealed a then club-record switch to Premier League new boys Swansea City days after conquering the league glory, Celtic still hold a special place in his heart – particularly the time he spent with Lennon, who is now in charge of Hibernian in the top flight of Scottish football.
“I had a very good relationship with him and to be fair I struggled a little bit when he first became manager of Celtic. After that, I learnt a lot about British football. It was a very good experience for myself and also with Neil Lennon. When I was a player he was a little bit angry and aggressive but he was a really good coach and he was a hero at Celtic. I miss him sometimes.”
The player revealed while discussing his days of struggle in Glasgow since completing a move from K-League side FC Seoul at the age of 20. Time flies and the South Korean is now enjoying his sixth successive campaign in Premier League football making more than 150 appearances in Europe’s most exciting football league. But he has not forgotten his strenuous early days in Scotland and offered his gratitude to the Celtic legend for helping him to become what he is today.
Swansea, meanwhile, have revived under Carlos Carvalhal but still unsure of maintaining a top-flight status. They are hopeful of scripting a ‘great escape’ but also likely to lose a few of their stars in case of a demotion to Championship. Ki will be on the move and the profile of reuniting with Brendan Rodgers at Celtic must not be ruled out after such a passionate interview about his former employers. Moreover, with players like Dembele, Tierney and Sinclair’s futures at the club up in the air, Ki could prove to be a smart signing if they rebuild for next season.
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