Recently, Celtic faced Aberdeen in the Scottish League Cup final, signalling the first contest for a trophy in the 2016/17 season. All 42 Scottish league sides, in addition to invited members of the Highland and Lowland leagues, are eligible to compete in the tournament, yet it was the leaders of the SPL, the upper tier in Scotland, who took home the trophy after a 3-0 win. Whilst their victory may suggest they possess the quality to reinforce their position as the seemingly dominant team in Scotland, the win seemed most notable for seeming to establish a record, as the trophy was the 100th in The Bhoys’ history. As such, they seem to be a consistent team possessing accomplished players, who continue to win multiple trophies across all levels of Scottish football.
Prior to the fixture, it seemed Celtic were the favourites, and this seemed to be predominantly due to their superior league standing: Brendan Rodgers’ side have emerged victorious in 11 of their 12 matches, and the 35 goals they have scored in the process, the highest tally in the league, seemed to contribute to their ten point advantage over their opponents. Aberdeen, whilst perhaps being deemed the underdogs, seemed to also possess a vast array of experience in this competition, having previously won it six times, most recently via penalties in 2014. Yet, Celtic seemed to play at a high standard, seemingly showcasing the reasons as to why they have won five consecutive SPL titles, with goals from Rogic, Forrest and Dembele instigating the victory. As a result, Celtic is in possession of the first trophy available in the campaign, which perhaps may act as motivation to win other competitions.
The trophy was also manager Brendan Rodgers’ first triumph, and this may enable him to win further trophies and enhance his pedigree as a manager. Whilst he may have seemingly been close to increasing his trophy cabinet, most notably with Liverpool in 2014 where he finished 2nd in the league, it seems it is at Celtic where he has fine-tuned his philosophy, perhaps resulting in the aforementioned victory. Upon his arrival at Celtic, Rodgers seemed to prioritise signing a mixture of established, experienced players and youth, with Scott Sinclair and Moussa Dembele amongst his transfers. This seems to have provided dividends, with the two forwards combined goals totalling 21. This, coupled with him seemingly adapting his philosophy in order to become a more accomplished tactician, seems to suggest the Northern Irishman may be showcasing his tactical nouse and ability as a manager; perhaps he now possesses the credentials to command a job at other European clubs.
As aforementioned, Celtic have now won 100 trophies in their history, and perhaps may now be referred to as the dominant team in Scotland. They may have showcased enough quality to suggest they may be able to win all of the trophies on offer for them domestically this season, perhaps resulting in a seemingly accomplished and productive season, yet seem to have also achieved this throughout their history; they have won 47 SPL championships, have won the most Scottish Cups in history, and perhaps most importantly are the only Scottish side to win the European Cup, perhaps referred to as the pinnacle of club football. As such, the statistics may support the claim of Celtic’s domestic dominance, and motivate the side to win further competitions.
Celtic next travel to Motherwell, before a midweek tie versus Manchester City in the Champions League; this tie may be important for The Hoops, as victory may see them leapfrog Borussia Mönchengladbach and secure a place in the Europa League. Whilst it is perhaps clear they have established themselves as the best team in Scotland, perhaps they may aim to expand their team and brand in order to challenge for both domestic and European honours, which may lead to them replicating the achievements of previous Celtic sides. As such, the final victory may have a more productive effect than originally thought, as perhaps it may act as a catalyst in ensuring their legacy is left on both Scottish, and European football.
How may Celtic utilise this victory in order to ensure they win their sixth successive Scottish league title?