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Brendan Rodgers Saved His Most Personal Motivational Tactic For Celtic's Biggest Game

Brendan Rodgers Saved His Most Personal Motivational Tactic For Celtic's Biggest Game
By Mikey Traynor

We've heard a lot about what a good personal relationship Brendan Rodgers strives to forge with his players in the weeks since Celtic completed their historic domestic treble, but another example from behind the scenes has emerged after the release of the book written about the Antrim man's first season in charge.

'Ivincible: Brendan Rodgers' Historic First Season At Celtic' by David Friel is out in bookshops and available online now, and it offers an insight as to how the former Liverpool boss went about turning things around at the Glasgow club that we otherwise would not have seen.

One such insight is how Rodgers went about motivating his players for the Scottish Cup Final against Aberdeen. The final game of the season, and thus the biggest as a win would secure what the supporters had dared not even dream about the previous summer, the preparations were not ideal for what all involved knew was going to be a nervy occasion.

In training, things were not going to plan as Rodgers described the session on the Thursday before the final as the only bad session they had all year. After giving his players a stern reminder to take nothing for granted, and that 100% focus and effort was needed, the Friday session was a big improvement.

If Rogders had been firm with his players in that instance, his softer side was about to shine through.

Friel describes the actions of the Celtic boss as he went through great effort to present his players with a presentation of well-wishes from their families on the night before the game, and then a terrific personal gesture when they arrived at the stadium for the final the next day.

By the time the team bus pulled into Hampden's underground tunnel, Celtic were ready, but Rodgers had a surprise in store.

The previous night, during a team meeting, he had used a projector to display individual messages of support for every player from their families. When they entered the dressing room to prepare for the game the next day, those same messages had been placed inside envelopes and sat next to the players' lockers.

It took a lot of planning, but that touch meant a lot to Rodgers' players. Lustig later posted an Instagram photograph of his message from wife Josefin, and daughters Lucia and Lexie.

A touch of class from Rodgers, and a level of effort that you can't imagine many other managers going through during such a ridiculously busy period of the season.

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Having heard of how Rodgers' swept a young Jonny Hayes off his feet during a trial while he was at Reading, this is just another example of Brendan going above and beyond to make his players happy.

Also, it wasn't the first time he's called on the family of his players to give them a bit of a boost, as Philippe Coutinho revealed he did it at Liverpool where he would read one letter a week from the mothers of his players before a game:

I was so anxious for it to be my turn, for the manager to read the letter from my Mum. I waited and waited for it. The manager had spoken to the mothers of every player in the team, he'd been reading a message before every game for months and finally my turn had come.

We were getting really strong, powerful words and it pushed us so much.

While his other plan with envelopes at Liverpool - claiming he had put the names of players he felt were going to let him down inside to be revealed at the end of the season, when in fact the envelopes were empty - had backfired after it was shown on a regrettable documentary, it's clear he's learning and adapting what works and what doesn't.

It's also clear he's just a decent human being, and knows when his players need a lift.

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SEE ALSO: Jonny Hayes Tells A Cracking Story Of His Personal History With Brendan Rodgers

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