Brendan Rodgers has sent a message to Celtic supporters amid the abuse he has received since leaving Scotland to return to the Premier League with Leicester.
The 46-year-old joined the Foxes on a three-and-a-half year deal on Tuesday after walking out of Parkhead to embark on something special.
A banner was unveiled during Celtic’s 2-1 win at Hearts in midweek calling Rodgers a fraud while a video shared online showed supporters chanting abuse at their former manager.
He said: “I’ve seen what’s been said but Celtic supporters will hurt, I understand how they feel. They are hurting and maybe a little worried in terms of what might happen with me leaving.
“Words, you always have to be careful with. I’ve seen the banner, the Celtic supporters are hurting. They gave me everything so I’m not going to say anything other than that.”
Rodgers continued: “It was a shock and they are probably angry but eventually reality will set in and the work we did will be appreciated.
“But what gave me the comfort to move is what we put in place there was going to stabilise the club going forward.
“I knew, coming away, the improvements made will hopefully allow that success to continue. It may be a little unfair on Leicester, I haven’t swapped coming into a mediocre club.
“It’s recent history has been incredible, they have that ambition to push higher than where we are. I understand the timing issue because if there was a time, the ideal time would have been the summer.
“We were very focused, you saw how we were. This was just an opportunity that arose very quickly and I had a decision I had to make very quickly. Removing the emotion from that was key.
“The opportunity to come to a club like Leicester wasn’t going to wait for me. However hard that was, and I respect people will hurt, but hopefully in time the measure of my success there will be what we did on the field and the improvements we did off the pitch will set the club up for success.
“It was a very difficult decision. If I was making it with my heart, I’d be at Celtic for life because it’s an incredible club, one I’ve supported for my life.
“It all happened quickly, an opportunity that came to be quickly. You have to take the emotion out and after three years at Celtic, with the success we achieved, the improvements we made, I felt it was time to move on and take the next challenge. I’ve had other opportunities, but I feel this was too good to turn down.
“It’s an ambitious club with a simple infrastructure that will allow me to work with the owners and the directors.”
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