IT may have seemed there had been a thawing of the frosty relations that set in between Brendan Rodgers and those he left behind at Celtic of late, with warm words coming from both the dressing room and the manager’s office towards the Northern Irishman.

It was even suggested by midfielder Callum McGregor that the supporters might one day welcome him back to Celtic Park and recognise the huge part he played in this current run of title wins. Perhaps the fans might not quite be as ready to forgive the man who jumped ship mid-season for Leicester City last year just yet though, judging by the feelings of those in Rodgers’ own family in any case.

Rodgers says that some of his relations are still giving him the cold shoulder for way he left Celtic, and haven’t even spoken to him since that day last February when he made the decision to swap a ‘tilt at the 10’ to return to the English Premier League. The lap of honour, therefore, may be some way off after all.

“I have family who were just distraught that I had left Celtic, they just couldn't believe it,' Rodgers told The Beautiful Game Podcast.

“I have relations that haven't spoken to me since the day I left Celtic. It meant so much to them.”

Rodgers is keen to stress that the decision to leave Celtic when he did, with his side on the brink of a third straight Treble, wasn’t an easy one, particularly for someone who had always played up his own Celtic background when in charge of the club.

Fans displayed a banner at the next match - a Scottish Cup tie against Hearts at Tynecastle – which labelled Rodgers as a ‘fraud’, with supporters not convinced that a real fan of the club would have left at such a juncture.

In his mind though, he was leaving the team in a great position to finish what he had started.

“It was so difficult,” he said. “One, because of the people. We had, from when I went into the club to where the club was at that point, it was a different club.

“The connection between the supporters and the team was really strong. We were in an incredible period. I was only the third manager in the history of the club to complete the treble.

“We were able to do it as an invincible treble, and then we did it again. And then people say you could have done a third one or a fourth one.

“I felt at the time when I left Celtic, the team was eight points clear. And when you think of all the season up until that point, Celtic had always won the league by double figures. The previous season we won by 30.

“So I felt, strategically, 'OK we'd won the League Cup, we're eight points clear in the League and then the team is then in a good position in the Scottish Cup as well.’

“If it was one point I couldn't leave. But I felt and when I spoke with my staff and then took the ultimate decision: The team is in a good place, there's a mentality now within the team'. And not just in hindsight, you feel the club will continue and go on and win the treble again.”

Given the success Rodgers has had since going to Leicester – his side were third in the EPL at the time of the coronavirus shutdown – he appears to feel that his decision to remove sentimentality from his decision-making process has been vindicated.

Explaining his thinking at the time, he said: “I can come into Leicester where I can look at the team under pressure for 10 games and then see how the players are. Then I can build something in the summer to come into this season and then take off.

“Again, there are for’s and against's that, but ultimately you have to be unsentimental in football because this is a business.

“You love football, and I love football, it's incredible, but it's also a business, and when you have to make decisions, you have to be unsentimental. You carry all of that too much, and you'll never do anything.

“I had some unforgettable memories at Celtic that will live with me for a lifetime that I still think about now.”

If the feelings of the Celtic supporters towards him were pushed out of his mind back then, his place in their affections seems to be a concern to Rodgers once more. As if to underline the point, he even took the time to have a quick pop back at Rangers manager Steven Gerrard, albeit concerning their time together at Liverpool rather than when they locked horns in Glasgow.

Gerrard said in his autobiography that overconfidence from then Anfield boss Rodgers that Liverpool could ‘blow Chelsea away’ led to the side losing the match in which the Liverpool captain infamously slipped to allow Demba Ba to score, ultimately costing the Reds a first title since 1990.

"Firstly, I didn't say that,” Rodgers retorted. “That was something that I didn't say.

"The game against Chelsea, when you think on it, coming off the back of winning 11 games on the spin, so nothing changes. Why would we change?

"I talked up about the emotion, it was really building at that stage, we hadn't lost at home, for us it was 'let's go and play the game we have all year, impose our way into the game.'

"But we knew it was going to be a difficult game. For 70 minutes of the game, take away Demba Ba's goal, we actually played well.

"We had chances to score, but couldn't score, but then our inexperience of being in that position became difficult for us.

"But I certainly didn't go out and say to blow them away, that was never, ever the instruction.

"It was go and play our game, which was go and impose our way, and it was just unfortunate what happened on the day."