Celtic: Can Brendan Rodgers
To win six consecutive trophies is outstanding. To win 9 could be astonishing.
By no means earlier than has a Scottish membership claimed a ‘treble treble’ however that’s the problem going through Celtic after Brendan Rodgers claimed the Scottish Premiership, Scottish Cup and the League Cup for a second consecutive season final time period.
With Livingston visiting Celtic Park for the marketing campaign’s opening recreation on Saturday, Celtic supporters are already anticipating the eighth step on what they hope is a march to the holy grail of 10 titles in a row.
However earlier than they attain that landmark, may they sweep the board once more this season?
Learn what former Celtic striker and BBC Scotland pundit Scott McDonald thinks and choose your personal Celtic XI for this time period.
Are Celtic’s hardest opponents themselves?
I believe they’re going to come once more stronger this season. I count on a powerful Celtic like that first season below Rodgers.
It was virtually inevitable that Celtic’s kind would dip barely after the ‘Invincibles’ season, once they received all three home prizes with out struggling a single defeat.
Having drawn simply 4 matches and misplaced none in 2016-17, the Parkhead aspect dropped factors in 14 matches final season as their margin of victory within the Premiership dropped from 30 factors to 9.
However the numbers solely inform a part of the story. Not often, if in any respect, did Rodgers’ aspect seem like within the midst of a real race for the title. Invariably, when Celtic wanted a consequence to maintain the pretenders at arm’s size, they delivered.
They received three of their 4 league conferences with runners-up Aberdeen, with their solely defeat to the Dons approaching the ultimate day with the title lengthy since wrapped up.
“To say they dipped within the second season, is unbelievable,” provides McDonald. “Expectations had been excessive however they had been clearly snug successful the title and nonetheless managed to do the treble so it was some battle…”
“I backed them to do the double treble, and it is definitely a risk they will do the treble treble.
“In a single-off video games in cup competitions, I may see an upset someplace alongside the road however I would definitely say Celtic for the title all day lengthy.”
What about Rodgers v Gerrard?
Steven Gerrard taking the helm at Rangers is a press release that they wish to compete and I believe the Celtic gamers and administration will step as much as that problem.
Rangers’ appointment of Gerrard has added an intriguing new dimension to this season.
The coach and captain who skilled thrilling highs and crushing lows collectively at Liverpool at the moment are in reverse camps in one in all soccer’s most unforgiving environments.
“I believe it’s going to get the juices flowing,” provides McDonald, who received the league title with Celtic in 2008.
“Brendan has nonetheless obtained rather a lot to attain at this soccer membership – he is mentioned that himself. I would not put it previous him to need 9 and 10 in a row.
“He’s right here for the long run and can wish to put one over his previous captain. In terms of these Outdated Agency video games we’d have a proper ding-dong on.”
What else could be totally different?
Celtic are going to be massively sturdy and I believe they will change form this yr and play two up entrance as nicely, which is able to excite the followers.
Rangers could nicely push Celtic tougher, however it’s Aberdeen who’ve been Celtic’s closest challengers for the previous 4 seasons.
Throw in Hibernian and Kilmarnock – who every managed a win and two attracts in opposition to the champions final season – and a Hearts aspect trying stronger after a summer season revamp, and there are many groups who will imagine they will no less than have a say within the race on the high this time round.
Rodgers admitted he would have wished so as to add extra signings by this stage of the summer season, with striker Odsonne Edouard and goalkeeper Scott Bain the one arrivals to this point after turning their mortgage spells into everlasting offers.
However even when no new faces arrive between now and the shut of the switch window on 31 August, Celtic’s squad continues to be far stronger than another in Scotland.
“The best way that Brendan has labored along with his gamers, they’ve simply gone from energy to energy,” McDonald says. “They know one another inside and outside.
“If he can add to it with high quality quite than amount, I believe he’ll, particularly on the again.
“Rodgers would in all probability wish to have strengthened a bit greater than what he has achieved to make the treble treble a risk, however you would not put it previous them.”