Celtic boss 'surprised' Premiership counterpart hasn't worked at 'higher level' amid Hibs manager chatter

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers is full of praise for Kilmarnock boss Derek McInnes ahead of Wednesday night’s clash at Rugby Park.

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers says he is ‘surprised’ that Kilmarnock boss Derek McInnes has not had a bigger opportunity in management. McInnes, who previously enjoyed an impressive spell with Aberdeen, has guided Killie to fourth place in the Scottish Premiership, securing European football with two games to spare.

The 52-year old is currently one of the most prominent names being linked with the vacant Hibs job following Nick Montgomery’s sacking on Tuesday. However, many Scottish football fans are suggesting on social media that he would be unlikely to consider leaving the stability at Rugby Park for the risks associated with the Easter Road gig at this moment in time - similar to when he knocked back opportunities to become Rangers and Sunderland manager while at Aberdeen.

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According to Celtic boss Rodgers, whose team face Kilmarnock on Wednesday night knowing they can clinch the Premiership title with a point, he is surprised the former Rangers player is yet to land a job at ‘a higher level’.

“He's an excellent manager with great experience,” said Rodgers. “He knows what he wants from his team. You've seen the fantastic job that he did at Aberdeen. Everything that he did there, bringing them to European football, challenging for trophies, making them super competitive, it's arguable that they haven't been the same since he left.

“He's obviously come to Kilmarnock, and looks like he's found that again and has an owner that really backs him. He did a great job getting out of the championship, stabilised in the first year and then able to build on it. They've been very, very good. I'm not surprised by it. I know Derek and his level. Whatever plaudits he gets, he thoroughly deserves them. He's given great value to his work.”

Rodgers added: “I've said that I’m surprised he hasn’t worked at a higher level before. He obviously had spells down there, Bristol City earlier in his career. I think what Derek has shown is that he's an excellent manager and I would always speak very highly of him if I was ever asked for any position.

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“I think that'll come. He's still young, he's still got a lot of years left as a manager and he still has the hunger. I've got no doubt he will get that opportunity. He seems very happy in the job that he's doing at Kilmarnock, but I've no doubt that he'll get other opportunities at a higher level.”

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