Saturday 20 January 2018

Celtic set to make it century of magic moments

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Roddy Forsyth

If Celtic beat Aberdeen in the Scottish League Cup final tomorrow, it will be the 100th occasion that silverware will have been adorned with green and white ribbons.

And, with the Hoops racing, seemingly unstoppably, towards the league title, victory at Hampden Park will immediately fuel speculation about a domestic treble.

In the eyes of the fans - and those of putative rivals - these are all markers of a Celtic manager's progress, especially one in his debut season at the club.

Brendan Rodgers has been in Glasgow for six months, but he knew as much within days of his arrival, as the first urgent challenge of his tenure materialised in the form of hazardous Champions League qualifiers.

The last Celtic manager to accomplish a clean sweep of the Scottish honours was another Northern Irishman, Martin O'Neill, in 2003.

Rodgers, though, has a mantra to the effect that his gratification is drawn from coaching players to be better footballers, rather than the acquisition of honours.

"When I look beyond my career, what will define me as a coach personally will be about improving players," he said. "When I'm hobbling about with a walking stick I'd hope to look back and players will know I've done my best for them.

"My ambition is always for the club to win trophies as a result of me being here. I'm not taking anything away from it, but what it means to me personally is zero.

"Managers get judged on what they have won, but it's no drama to me. I know the responsibility here is to win - that's why I came. If we beat Aberdeen, I'll have a smile, but then I'll get ready for Motherwell." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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