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Celtic’s historic treble cements place as the dominant force of Scottish football

Brendan Rodgers
Photo: Getty Images

Celtic

Celtic’s historic treble cements place as the dominant force of Scottish football

Brendan Rodgers’ side secured a second successive treble this weekend.

On Saturday afternoon, whilst much of the world’s attention was focused on the historic Royal wedding taking place at Windsor, Celtic were busy making their own piece of history in the Scottish Cup Final.

Goals from Callum McGregor and Olivier Ntcham secured a comfortable victory against Motherwell and means that Celtic have now secured back-to-back domestic trebles to cement their position as the dominant force in Scottish football.

After going the entirety of last season undefeated in domestic competitions, many onlookers were left wondering what more the club achieve in the subsequent season. Although they were not able to repeat that feat this campaign, Celtic ensured that they would break a different record by becoming the first team to win successive trebles.

It is a remarkable feat. Neither Jock Stein or Martin O’Neill were able to ensure such dominance despite the legendary teams that they both developed, which leads us to Brendan Rodgers.

When the Northern Irishman arrived in Scotland two years ago he came with his reputation having taken something of a beating by the media and supporters south of the border.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

He had risen to prominence during a successful spell with Swansea City, which ultimately earned him a move to Liverpool in 2012.

Initially he had made good progress at Anfield, coming within a Steven Gerrard slip of winning the Premier League title in 2013/14, yet the departure of Luis Suarez and poor decisions in the transfer market resulted in a sharp decline in performances and results in subsequent years.

Rodgers was sacked in October 2015, departing with no silverware to show for his efforts, and was left wondering what might have been. His initial impact at Liverpool was quickly forgotten – he was branded a failure and unsuitable for management at a so-called ‘big’ club.

However, the 45-year-old has rebuilt his reputation in Glasgow and has reinvented himself as one of the leading coaches in British football.

 

He has moulded Celtic into serial winners and the team play with pace, energy, style and swagger that produces football which is blissfully simply, yet joyous to watch.

Rodgers has created a club that has cemented its position at the summit of Scottish football and that has been so dominant over the last two years that it is difficult to see anyone toppling them.

Critics will automatically highlight the financial disparity that exists between Celtic and the remainder of the Scottish Premier League as the defining factor of Rodgers’ success.

Whilst that is true to an extent, it fails to explain why previously Celtic managers have been unable to produce the same level of dominance in previous years?

If the task of winning back-to-back trebles or going an entire domestic campaign unbeaten is so easy, why has it never been done before?

The truth is that Rodgers has taken Celtic onto the next level and, whilst money does play a part, it is his coaching, man management and playing philosophy that have been the most pertinent factors. He and the team should rightfully bask in the plaudits and glory of the previous two campaigns.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It is ironic to think that, prior to moving to Glasgow, Rodgers’ management career had lacked any tangible reward in terms of silverware.

Now he has won six trophies in two years.

However, there is still a sense that the Northern Irishman has work to do at Celtic. Their performances in domestic competitions have not been replicated in Europe and there is still certainly room for improvement on that account.

Then there is the imminent arrival of Steven Gerrard at Glasgow Rangers.

His appointment has generated considerable interest and intrigue in the Scottish game with some suggesting that his arrival could mark the start of club’s resurgence and re-emergence as a genuine force.

It remains to be seen what Gerrard’s impact will be at Ibrox, but there is little doubt that Rodgers would like nothing more than to swat away any challenge from his former captain and to discourage any sort of revival by Celtic’s cross-city rivals.

Any sense that Celtic supporters are becoming bored by their club’s dominance have not been apparent during the previous couple of months. The scale and sound of their celebrations in recent weeks suggests that they are thoroughly enjoying their moment in the spotlight.

And so they should. There team is making history and, judging by the previous two years, they will have plenty to celebrate in the future.

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