McInnes full of praise for ‘impressive’ Celtic move
Aberdeen manager relishing chance to test himself against Brendan Rodgers
EREK McINNES had the pleasure of being invited by Brendan Rodgers into his inner sanctum for a few days at Liverpool. The Aberdeen manager used the time wisely and was impressed with the way the Northern Irishman went about his work. The feeling was mutual and that’s why Rodgers allowed his keeper, Danny Ward, to head to Pittodrie on loan last summer.
Now, though, the pair will go headto-head in the Ladbrokes Premiership after Rodgers was appointed as the new manager of Celtic.
It’s a challenge McInnes welcomes and, along with Rangers being back in the top flight, it is something he believes will help take Scottish football onto a new level.
“The appointment of Brendan Rodgers is a huge statement from Celtic,” said McInnes. “To appoint a manager of such calibre shows there is really good ambition there.
“They had a list of very strong candidates to replace Ronny Deila. This will only enhance the profile of Scottish football and give our game extra respect.
“I’d been at a few League Managers’ Association events and Brendan was also there. I watched him coach, talk and present at the seminars and he was very impressive. Now, he is in Scotland working and that’s great for everyone involved.
“All managers welcome the opportunity to go up against top managers and I look forward to that opportunity when we play against Celtic. At the end of the day, it’s about the players when they go out onto the pitch, but managers and coaches don’t like to leave anything behind when it comes to preparation, analysis and tactics.
“From the time I spent with Brendan at Liverpool, I know how thorough he is. I wanted to see how he prepared for games during his working week. He is a training ground manager and loves working with the players. He spends his time there. He is also big on the analysis of his team and of the opposition.
“It was brilliant to have that one-toone time with him. Yes, I was impressed, but I also took a lot of satisfaction from the fact that I knew what we were doing at Aberdeen was similar to the way Brendan approached things. That was very pleasing.
“We then got Danny Ward from him and we were delighted. Brendan knew about Aberdeen and what we were doing at the club. He knew how professional we are and how we try to do things in the right manner. He also asked about Jonny Hayes as he had worked with Jonny at Reading.”
Rodgers will be paraded in front of the Celtic faithful for the first time later today after fulfilling his media duties. His arrival, unquestionably, raises the bar.
McInnes and his staff, however, will work even harder to improve their team and they will look to add to their squad. They have signed striker Miles Storey and have been linked with Dundee star Greg Stewart.
They are also keen to bring in a goalkeeper of proven quality.
“There will be an extra dimension to the league next season because Rangers are back in it,” said McInnes. “In Celtic and Rangers, you have two clubs with the power and finance to create a bit of distance between themselves and the rest, but you have to embrace that challenge and we will. You have to do what you can to defy the odds. We have been doing well and we need to keep improving.
“I have my budget for players and we will try to use that as wisely as possible. We need to be as smarty as we possibly can be when it comes to bringing in new players.
“We’re working hard on a few things right now and we are looking to bring in a goalkeeper to be our No.1 and we are also looking to add more of a physical presence to our team.
“We managed to get so far last season and I was proud of the players. They worked really, really hard and provided us with some really good victories. The fact we beat Celtic twice was really good. We have things in place to build on and we look forward to tackling any challenge that comes our way next season.
“We have a good mentality at our club and we’ll be ready to give it our all to make the campaign as successful as it possibly can be, as we look to do well in the Cup competitions as we as being competitive in the league.”
READY FOR THE CHALLENGE: McInnes says he has learned plenty from attending seminars hosted by the new Celtic manager