Soccer Sport

Brendan Rodgers hails his Celtic “Invinci-trebles” as Derek McInnes laments loss at end of long season for Aberdeen (From HeraldScotland)

NEW German nouns tend to be formed simply by joining various words together. Brendan Rodgers took a similar approach yesterday when it came to summing up just what his Celtic team had achieved this season by sweeping all before them domestically without losing a single match.

“I’ve just heard a new word – the Invinci-trebles!” said Rodgers, beaming ear to ear after his side’s 2-1 victory over Aberdeen in the William Hill Scottish Cup final. “It’s a monumental achievement. We’ve come through a league campaign unbeaten and the final was always going to be tough.

“Derek McInnes has done a brilliant job with Aberdeen. He made them competitive and we had to really respond. We had to show why we’re champions. It was a very tough game and to win it like we did was special. It took us right to the end for the winner but it’s an incredible feeling.”

Rodgers summed up the secret behind this season’s success. “The players have bought in to how we want to work. We impose our way and the players improve. If you create an environment like that then 95 percent of people will become better. The other five percent you don’t want as they don’t want to learn.

“But thankfully I took over a group of players who were very keen, hungry and coachable. I added one or two bits to that to change the characteristics of the team to make it dynamic, fast, creative and unpredictable.”

The hardest part will be trying to improve on near-perfection but Rodgers believes there is more still to come.

“We will sit down again in the summer and we will look at what we want to do next year,” he added. “We want to develop in European football. I think this season was about learning about that. We can improve. You always have to be careful as a coach, manager, or player. You do well and you can create a rod for your own back. I don’t want it to be that way. We might lose some games but we can improve. We might not win everything next season but we can progress.”

There was concern for Kieran Tierney who departed midway through the first half after sustaining a mouth injury after being caught by Jayden Stockley’s swinging arm, something that could keep him out of next month’s Scotland versus England contest.

“My initial reaction is that it is twice it is happened because he took a heavy elbow up at Pittodrie in the game we won 3-1. He was down and out for a while in that game. It is a difficult one because when two players are running that can happen. But for it to happen again… I don’t want to comment too much because I need to see it again.

“The kid now probably needs an operation on his mouth so I am just surprised the officials and the fourth official didn’t see it. It was incredible. I think his teeth came through the palate of his mouth. I can’t imagine how sore that is so he is going to need some protective work on that and a specialist to look at it. So I don’t want to rule him in or out at this stage.”

His opposite number, Derek McInnes, praised the Aberdeen players for giving everything at the end of a long season, even if they came up short.

“I think any time you lose a game in injury time it is always tough,” he said. “It’s compounded when it’s a cup final. It was 351 days ago that we reported for pre-season. It’s been a long season with a tight squad. The boys have given absolutely everything.

“They knocked their pan in. There was nothing in the game other than we lacked a wee bit of legs and just to keep going forward and applying the pressure. Celtic are a good team and good teams find an answer.”

Source : HeraldScotland

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