Brendan Rodgers has promised a “super intense” response from Celtic to their elimination from European football as they turn their attention fully to the prospect of completing the unprecedented feat of winning consecutive domestic trebles.
The Scottish champions have little time to reflect on Thursday’s tame Europa League exit against Zenit St Petersburg in Russia as they prepare to face Aberdeen at Pittodrie in the Premiership tomorrow.
It is the first of 11 remaining league games for Celtic, who are currently nine points ahead of both Rangers and Aberdeen at the top of the table. Having already retained the League Cup, they are also in the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup as they attempt to become the first side ever to achieve the domestic clean sweep in back- to-back seasons.
“That is a huge motivation for us,” admitted Rodgers as he sought to put the 3-0 defeat in St Petersburg, which saw Celtic lose their Europa League last-32 tie 3-1 on aggregate, behind him as quickly as possible.
“To get into February still in all four competitions was a great achievement for us, especially as it has been tough for us this season in terms of injuries and key players being out.
“We have a great opportunity now to go on and the next possibilities are the league and the Scottish Cup. To do that would bring, yet again, a historical season for us. Our focus is now very much on that game at Aberdeen on Sunday and we have other important games between now and the end of the season. It is a really exciting finish for us. It was a disappointment to go out of Europe but there are still lots of lessons learned.
“I always try to be clear with the players in terms of where we can be better and where we can improve. But the past is the past now, we will learn from that, you have to look forward and for us, this is a really exciting finish to the season now.
“In the main, we will have one game a week so the players will be super intense, super ready for all the games. Let’s go and really attack this last part of the season and show our qualities.”