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Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers closing in on treble and history Bhoy status

 

By Jim Gracey

Brendan Rodgers urged to Celtic team to stay calm as they moved to within 90 minutes of a Scottish domestic treble that would see the Carnlough man join greats Jock Stein and Martin O'Neill in the history books.

Unruffled Rodgers kept his team focused as Celtic strolled to a 2-0 victory over Old Firm rivals Rangers at Hampden to set up a May 27 Scottish Cup final showdown with Aberdeen.

Rodgers is now a firm favourite to emulate the revered Stein and countryman O'Neill as the only Celtic managers to secure a clean sweep of domestic trophies in a season by adding the Scottish Cup to the League Cup and title already secured.

It would represent a monumental first season achievement for Rodgers, even given the absence of a meaningful Rangers challenge to his Bhoys.

And he insisted his players would keep their eyes on the prize for the team and their supporters in the same way they handled the charged atmosphere and hype of the Old Firm occasion yesterday.

"I always say to my team, you have to stay calm," Rodgers said.

"We know the consequences of this game, we also know what it means to people, but you have to perform. And you can only perform when you stay concentrated and stay calm.

"What we have been able to do over the course of the season is keep adding to the games when you perform under pressure."

Rodgers, who revealed Moussa Dembele would have a scan on his injured hamstring, said: "I thought we played absolutely brilliantly: everything you would want your team to play in terms of composure, temperament, technical quality.

"The first half in particular we were outstanding. It was a great goal and the only disappointment was we didn't score more.

"We allowed them a little spell of 15 minutes when they had a couple of opportunities. But over the course of the game, to play a Celtic-Rangers game to that level makes me very proud of the team. Twelve months on from where they were last year it really shows the level they have got to."

In sharp contrast, new Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha felt his players were too tense going into the game.

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