Upon Brendan Rodgers’ appointment as Celtic manager, it seemed both parties might be aiming to re-elevate their standings in the footballing world. For the former, he might have been aiming to improve on the results he attained at previous club Liverpool, and the reigning Scottish champions seemed to be held in the best stead for him to meet this goal. Ultimately, this may have been a successful pairing, as with Celtic’s recent triumph in the Scottish League Cup final, Rodgers became the first manager since Jock Stein to win four consecutive pieces of silverware. Considering Stein seems to be often be considered a football revolutionary, and perhaps Celtic’s most proficient manager in history, Rodgers’ achievement may have drawn him closer to being referred to in the same breath. Furthermore, with the club perhaps the pinnacle for Rodgers due to him being a Celtic supporter, increasingly accomplishing may solely serve to cement his tenancy further.
Celtic themselves seem to have recently been performing at their peak capabilities, with Rodgers’ successful integration of former EPL players into his side ultimately paying dividends. The main reason for this may be these players’ experience in important encounters, and their ability to influence the game in their team’s favour. As such, Celtic triumphed in the league in Rodgers’ debut season, in the process also recording either a win or a draw in every fixture. Whilst this naturally drew them alongside Arsenal as the sole British clubs to achieve this feat, it seemed the side might have been required to attain further silverware for their reputation to be elevated to its previous state. Thus, the importance of winning the Scottish League Cup may have been re-emphasised, with the ability of Scott Sinclair and Moussa Dembele to signal their team’s victory also reiterating the importance of their involvements.
Whilst adding to their already expansive trophy cabinet may be a poignant focal point for Celtic, their original appointment of Rodgers may be equally as important. Yet, their crowning glory may be their continuous faith in the Northern Irishman, as he seemed to have a challenging start. After ending his opening fixture on the receiving end of the scoreline in the Champions League, a visit from Barcelona seemed to place Rodgers under further pressure. Yet, this seemed to be a challenge he relished, with his continuous attainment of victories afterwards enabling him to surpass a 100-year-old record for consecutive domestic victories. Whilst he indeed seemed to have moderate success in England, most notably a second-place finish with Liverpool, his reputation may have been superior prior to him leaving the Anfield side, and therefore his achievements at Celtic may showcase his ability to achieve at an established club.
Whilst it may be suggested a pivotal reason in Celtic’s success may have been Rangers’ administration, they still had to adapt to their new circumstances, and they seemed to have been successful in this transition. Their recent result may also draw attention onto the Scottish league, and Scottish football in general, as whilst perhaps other nations may have superiorly competitive leagues, predominantly due to the more even spreading of monetary incentives, Celtic seem to be improving consistently. With a significant factor in this their ability to attract British talent, and balancing their club philosophy with their desire to win, this might also be beneficial in the Champions League, improving the British coefficient.
Whilst Motherwell’s involvement in the final itself may solely serve to increase their opportunities in the future, Celtic seem to ultimately now be held in the best stead. Considering they also seem to be in a fruitful period, attaining further records may contribute to narrowing the divide between domestic and European football. The side most notably seems to be consistently achieving in the position of favourites, and whilst this may place them in challenging circumstances, as the underdogs often have more substantial support and reduced pressure, their victories may highlight key traits. These include their high temperament and game management capabilities, and with this final occurring at a pivotal point in the calendar, they may also have a productive conclusion to the season.
How may Rodgers himself continue to obtain trophies to cement his position among the most skilled British managers in history?