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Celtic march on towards magic 10-in-a-row after Rangers demolition job

Celtic 5-0 Rangers


Double trouble: Odsonne Edouard celebrates his second goal in Celtic's emphatic win over Rangers

Double trouble: Odsonne Edouard celebrates his second goal in Celtic's emphatic win over Rangers

Double trouble: Odsonne Edouard celebrates his second goal in Celtic's emphatic win over Rangers

On an afternoon when the gap between Celtic and Rangers was laid bare for everyone to see, the Hoops fans, as they have done for months, sang 'Brendan Rodgers is here for 10 in a row'.

Such is the confidence among Celtic supporters at the moment about their manager and their team. These days, it is not about winning the league - it is about how many times.

The most consecutive Scottish titles is nine, which both Old Firm clubs have managed, Celtic from 1966 to 1974 and Rangers from 1989 to 1997.

Rodgers' side moved to within a William Hill Scottish Cup final win next month over Motherwell of an historic second successive domestic treble after the league title was secured with a 5-0 thrashing of the Gers at Celtic Park.

Things could hardly be going better for the supporters of the Parkhead club.

It was a lot to ask Celtic to replicate last season's league campaign given that they went unbeaten in 38 league games, drawing only four.

Rodgers' first season in charge since taking over from Ronny Deila in 2016 ultimately brought a domestic treble, a remarkable achievement.

The Parkhead side's title win has been less emphatic this season, with three defeats - a 4-0 loss to Hearts at Tynecastle on December 17, a 1-0 setback at Kilmarnock on February 3 and a 2-1 defeat at Hibernian last weekend.

Again, the Champions League was a struggle.

A 5-0 home defeat to Paris St Germain and a 7-1 thrashing in Paris brought a continental reality check. An element of progress saw them reach the Europa League only to be knocked out by Zenit St Petersburg on a 3-1 aggregate.

However, on the home front, it has been pretty much plain sailing.

Arguably the best away performance was the 3-0 win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie in December, where the pace, power and sheer ability of the visitors blew away the home side.

Celtic's 4-0 win over St Johnstone on November 4 made more history. They broke their own British record of 62 domestic games without defeat, which stretched back to Willie Maley's side of 100 years ago.

The 3-2 win over Rangers at Ibrox on March 11, where the Hoops came from behind twice to win while finishing with 10 men, traumatised their oldest rivals who were thrashed 4-0 when the two sides met in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final earlier this month.

The 5-0 Old Firm win at Parkhead could have been even more emphatic.

When questions have been asked, Celtic have come up with the answers.

This season, the top performers have been winger James Forrest, who has his highest-ever goal tally for the season of 17, the tireless, demanding skipper Scott Brown, left-back Kieran Tierney and Callum McGregor, with some influential displays by fellow midfielders Olivier Ntcham and Tom Rogic.

Main strikers Moussa Dembele and Leigh Griffiths have had to contend with injuries but have chipped in with important goals. Norway defender Kristoffer Ajer has emerged as a first-choice centre-back and has just turned 20.

It is a squad that requires bolstering, not rebuilding.

But if Celtic did not reach the heights of last season, it can be argued that they finished the campaign in a stronger position, in relation to their closest opponents, than when the campaign started.

Traditional rivals Rangers began the season in hope under Portuguese coach Pedro Caixinha but have ended it under his successor Graeme Murty and there will be a new boss in place for the start of 2018-19, perhaps former England and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard who is the front runner.

Derek McInnes, boss of recent nearest challengers Aberdeen, admits his squad is in need of a revamp. There is no imminent challenge to the Hoops' monopoly with many predicting a record-breaking 10, if not more.

For Celtic, who will strengthen again ahead of yet another Champions League qualifying campaign in July, the coast is clear for next season and many more.

Belfast Telegraph