McInnes full of praise for ‘im­pres­sive’ Celtic move

Aberdeen man­ager rel­ish­ing chance to test him­self against Bren­dan Rodgers

The Herald - Herald Sport - - FOOTBALL - MARK GUIDI

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

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