How Celtic can land world record at Hampden and open 20-year gap to Rangers
Ange Postecoglou’s side must first find a way past Inverness Caledonian Thistle in Saturday’s Scottish Cup final. But providing they can beat Billy Dodds’ Championship team they will set a new world football standard for winning trebles.
It has become almost second nature to the Parkhead club in recent years. Their run of dominance means they will edge one ahead of Rangers in the all-time treble table with a victory over Inverness this weekend.
Both Old Firm clubs currently stand on seven trebles each, although it is now 20 years – 20 years yesterday in fact – since Rangers last completed a clean sweep of domestic trophies with a 1-0 Scottish Cup win over Dundee.
It's over two years since Celtic last achieved the feat after the delayed Scottish Cup final win over Hearts in December 2020, which means many in the current side have not tasted this particular quality of glory, O‘Riley included.
“It’s definitely exciting,” said the 22-year-old, who signed for the club last year from MK Dons. “But in the end it comes down to us performing well for 90 minutes on the pitch, potentially 120 if it goes to extra time.
“It’s definitely a process, but if we’re able to do it, of course it’ll be amazing. It comes down to performing well individually and as a team, and by doing that you put yourself in a position to write history and win trophies.
“You can’t think too far ahead about your legacy at the club, it’s probably not the best way to look at it. It’s more of an everyday process of trying to improve as a footballer, first and foremost. That gives you the best chance to put yourself in a position to do that.”
Celtic were denied the chance to lift the treble last year after losing to Rangers in the Scottish Cup semi-final. That result is a rare lowlight in Postecoglou’s reign, certainly in the domestic setting. Might it be sweeter this season after coming so close last year?
“I could probably give you a better answer if we do win it!" said O'Riley. "I’d have to be in that position to really soak it in and what it means. We haven’t played the game yet, or won it. Thinking about it is nice, but until the job is done I can’t really give a good answer.
“I’m certainly aware of the demand,” O’Riley added. “First and foremost, it comes from being expected to win every game and if you do win every game, you put yourself in a good position to do that.
“Taking that mindset into the week, training games, and taking it onto the pitch is the most important thing so that you are naturally in that habit of winning, and also expecting to win. It has definitely made me a better player. It makes you adapt to the pressure of football.
“For a young player, especially, this is a club with a lot of demands. Having the experience of being involved in this sort of environment so young is really important and can only really put you in a good place.”
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