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Proud Rodgers doubts Celtic's 'special' achievement will ever be repeated

The Hoops became the first Scottish side to go through a whole season undefeated.

Image: Craig Watson

CELTIC MANAGER BRENDAN Rodgers hailed his side’s “special” achievement after they became the first Scottish Premiership club to go unbeaten through a 38-game season.

Celtic wrapped up their league campaign with a 2-0 victory over Hearts as second-half goals by Leigh Griffiths and Stuart Armstrong ensured Celtic ended up with a record of played 38, won 34 and drew four.

Celtic, who were presented with the Premiership trophy for the sixth successive time after the match, also set a new points record of 106 — 30 ahead of runners-up, Aberdeen.

It is an incredible achievement in Rodgers’ first season in charge of the Glasgow giants and the former Liverpool boss doesn’t think he will live long enough to see it repeated.

“Will it be done again? I’m not so sure in my lifetime it will,” he said.

“That’s only because you only have to look when it was done before.

“The last team to do it (Rangers in 1898-99) was in the 1890s and that was an 18 game season. This is a 38 game season. I think it tells you the difficulty of achieving that.

“The group have worked so hard for all the records they have broken. It’s been a great season,” added the 44-year-old Northern Irishman.

Rodgers, who steered Liverpool agonisingly close to their first Premier League title in 2013/14, said the players deserved to have their place in history.

“It is a monumental achievement by the players,” said Rodgers.

“I think that what gets lost in amongst all the records that have been set is that there is a real dedication to excellence since I came in.

“They will probably tell you themselves that they get pushed really hard but hopefully they see the benefits.

“They have inscribed their names into the history of this incredible club now.

“The level of football, the tactical display the players have shown and the excitement they have given the supporters has been incredible to watch.

“We had to work hard and to beat the goals record and the wins record means it’s a truly fantastic day.”

Celtic v Heart of Midlothian - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership - Celtic Park Source: Craig Watson

The Celtic manager said any criticism of his side’s achievement because of the standard of the game in Scotland was “very unfair”.

“It’s all relative. I was at Chelsea when they beat Wigan 8-0 on the last game of the season to pick up the title,” Rodgers said.

“It’s a brilliant league, but they won 8-0, so what does that make the Premier League?

“If you’re talking about massive clubs then this is one of the great clubs of the world.

“But what it’s not in is a league where you have the finances to run with that.

“There’s not too many challenges like this in Britain where you have to win every week.

“I could go with Liverpool to Manchester United and draw a game and it could be a good result. You can’t do that here.

“Every single game there’s a pressure and an expectancy. You go to Ibrox or Pittodrie or any of the others and you’re expected to win.

“And not just win, but win in a clear defined, attacking way and that’s not easy.

“We’re on a great winning cycle, but to continue with that and try and qualify for the Champions League is tough.”

Celtic, who also won the League Cup earlier this season, take on Aberdeen in next Saturday’ Scottish Cup final at Hampden and Rodgers said the players can finally start to dream of a first domestic treble since 2001.

“What’s been key to our season is that we’ve never got too carried away,” the Celtic manager said.

“We’ve never stumbled because we’re trying to forecast what game we would have in three or four games time.”

© – AFP 2017

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