BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
ADAM BOGDAN is relishing the prospect of a Reds reunion after joining Hibs on loan.
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers is the man who took Bogdan to Anfield in the summer of 2015 and, while the Northern Irishman’s stint in Merseyside would soon turn sour, the 30-year-old vividly recalls the quiet intensity of his former boss.
While not an official teammate, Hungarian internationalist Bogdan also trained alongside new Gers manager Gerrard when he returned to Liverpool in order to keep his fitness levels high during the break between MLS campaigns with LA Galaxy.
Indeed, Bogdan has joked that he was tempted to move into management given the ex-Anfield contingent already in place in the Premiership.
“I have the feeling since Gerrard moved up the focus is more on Scotland for sure,” said Bodgan. “He came back to train with us in the United States when there was a season break. He is a brilliant guy.
“Steven is humble and he has this aura because he won the Champions League, and his quality on the ball is unbelievable. He is a legend in Liverpool rightly so. You would try and watch him in training and save his shots – if you could – and have a chat with him in the gym.
“Rodgers is quiet I would say. He is a different type to [Jurgen] Klopp for example. He signed me, we had such a good passing team. But at that time, around September, you had a feeling not all the fans were happy and the atmosphere was not the best.
“Then he left and went to Scotland. Since then he has been so successful. Maybe, I should start managing too!”
In one of his final official acts for Liverpool, Bogdan was part of the Reds party that travelled to Kiev for the Champions League final against Real Madrid.
Watching from his berth directly behind Jurgen Klopp’s dugout, he went through the mill as he witnessed his teammate Loris Karius endure a nightmare evening, making two horrific errors in a 3-1 defeat.
Never has the lonely life of a goalkeeper been laid more bare.
“It was intense,” he recalled. “It was too much for the heart! It was emotionally unbelievable because everyone was going in with such positivity, to win it. The fans were amazing, the team was confident and then you realise you are not going to win it. Such sadness comes from it.
“It was even more emotional as a goalkeeper, because we can relate to our teammate. If it had not been the biggest game in Europe then you just say ‘it happens to anyone’.
“But the stage was so big that you can’t know what that’s like.”
The modest challenge posed by NSI Runavik of the Faroe Islands could barely be further removed from marvelling at Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Madrid’s galaxy of superstars.
Nevertheless, with regular Hibees’ number one Ofir Marciano recovering from finger surgery, Bogdan is desperate to make his return to competitive action when Hibs’ own continental campaign begins with the visit of the Faroese minnows of July 12.
To do so he must impress Neil Lennon, a boss whose methods – and rages – he remembers sharply after playing under the Northern Irishman at Bolton.
“What do I remember about him? His half-time talks!” laughed Bogdan. “He is who he is. He demands a lot and wants high-tempo football. He gets his message across the way he does. You have to know him but he is a good guy. I am looking forward to working with him.
“It is up to me to impress him now. You have to prove yourself on the training pitch.”
Should Bogdan be given the nod against Runavik it will be a first competitive outing since suffering cruciate knee ligament damage in an EFL Championship fixture against Barnsley on November 2016.
“It has been a rollercoaster for me, emotionally and physically,” added Bogdan. “However, I have been fit since February. I have been training in the first and second team at Liverpool, involved there. I am feeling good, fresh and, although maybe not 100 per cent fit yet, I will be very soon.”