Brendan Rodgers will '˜join Celtic greats with cup win'
Brendan Rodgers would be bracketed along with Celtic greats Jock Stein and Martin O'Neill by winning a domestic treble in his first season as manager, according to former Hoops boss Davie Hay.
The Northern Irishman’s side are unbeaten domestically and will complete the clean sweep if they win the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Aberdeen next month.
Stein completed the treble twice in 1967 and 1969 - in a hugely successful period during which Celtic won the European Cup and nine successive league titles - and O’Neill achieved the feat in 2001, before taking the club to the UEFA Cup final a couple of years later.
Hay, manager at Parkhead between 1983 and 1987, was speaking at the national stadium where he was helping launch this year’s nominations for the Scottish Football Hall of Fame.
Asked if it would be fair to mention Rodgers in the same breath as Stein and O’Neill should he clean up in Scotland, the former Celtic and Scotland player replied: “I would say this early, I can understand that and rightly so.
“If you win the treble - history tells you it is not easy to achieve it.
“They are close to it. He still has to do it. Aberdeen will give them a game in the final, believe me. They will want to make amends for the League Cup final (defeat to Celtic this season).
“It is not done and dusted yet but if it were to happen, he goes down in history and I think it would be just the start of long-term legacy with Brendan in charge, of which 10-in-a-row is part of it.
“It is a bit away, still four years away, but you can’t see it changing in the domestic front although you never know, things can change in football.”
To add weight to his argument, Hay noted the difference at Celtic from a season ago when Rangers beat Ronny Deila’s Hoops side on penalties in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park.
The result is generally regarded to have prompted the Parkhead board to seek out the former Swansea and Liverpool boss, who signed a new four-year deal earlier in the month.
Rodgers’ side reached this season’s final with an easy 2-0 win over the Ibrox club at the national stadium on Sunday.
“I would look back to a season ago to the semi-final, to where this Celtic team has come under Brendan Rodgers,” said Hay.
“They won the league last year but the style of football they are playing this season is one of the reasons they are undefeated, they almost look at times invincible in this league.
“It is difficult to compare with previous eras because people say the standard was better but that is not Celtic’s doing, they are playing winning football and attractive football and that is due to the guidance of Brendan Rodgers.
“He has committed himself with his contract with a view to maintaining this level of football and improving it, which is a worry for the rest.”