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Brendan Rodgers celebrates Celtic reaching milestone and looks to the future

By Ronnie Esplin

Brendan Rodgers targeted another 100 trophies for Celtic after the Hoops reached the century landmark with a commanding 3-0 Betfred Cup final win over Aberdeen at Hampden Park.

First-half strikes from midfielders Tom Rogic and James Forrest along with Moussa Dembele's second-half penalty secured the Carnlough man's first piece of silverware since taking over the club in the summer.

Afterwards, the Hoops boss spoke about the trophy haul's significance to a club that played its first game in 1888.

He said: "It is a winning club. That is what the great history of this club is based upon.

"It makes the milestone, that century of trophies.

"Now we have to look to the next one and start the next century of trophies and that will be important for the club.

"But it is a great night for the Celtic supporters to celebrate, they must have enjoyed the performance."

Rodgers was adamant again that the trophy win meant nothing to him on a personal basis, saying: "You have got to stop talking about personal.

"My job is to manage and bring success to Celtic. What does it do for me? As I have said before, absolutely nothing for me. I am proud to be the manager of Celtic and bring a trophy to the people I love, the club I support and the players but that's it."

The former Swansea and Liverpool boss - who also played down the prospect of a domestic treble, saying: "I am thinking about Motherwell," Celtic's opponents next week - heaped praise on skipper Scott Brown, who has been rejuvenated this season.

Rodgers said: "I couldn't be more proud for the team and if I am to say anything on getting my first trophy as Celtic manager, to have Scott as the captain is a huge honour.

"He is someone who represents how we work every day, his intensity, energy, enthusiasm. He wants to be the best and that is no different whether it is here or Alloa, he is up for every game.

"He dominated and he pulls the team together on the field and you see him improving tactically. (There were) So many outstanding performers, but he was certainly right up there."

Man of the match Forrest felt he and his team-mates began to repay Rodgers for his positive impact on the squad.

"He (Rodgers) has been excellent with all the boys from day one," said the winger.

"All the boys repaid him with the trophy and hopefully we can continue to do that."

The Scotland winger is possibly the best example of the influence Rodgers has had on individuals.

The 25-year-old was latterly a peripheral figure under former boss Ronny Deila, who signalled that the wide player was going to move on when his contract expired in December.

But Forrest regained his place in the team under Rodgers and soon signed an extended deal, putting in one of his most memorable displays in a Celtic jersey yesterday.

"He has just been so positive and hopefully we can keep going and win more," added Forrest.

"The work they do, all the coaches behind the scenes, is top notch.

"All the boys have really bought into it and it's really positive. Hopefully this can kick-start us winning more trophies."

The triumph proved Celtic's 100th major trophy and Forrest was delighted to be part of history.

"It's tremendous, that's why you play football, for days like this," he said.

"I'm absolutely delighted. It's been a great start for the full team and we are just buzzing to get this trophy in the bag early doors."

Dons boss Derek McInnes described the afternoon as a "sobering experience", adding: "We were beaten by the better team.

"To take Celtic on in a final we can't afford to have some below-par performances, we have to be at the maximum."

Belfast Telegraph


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