Brendan Rodgers hopes Celtic can savour rare open-top bus parade

Brendan Rodgers is excited at the prospect of Celtic being able to parade the Scottish Cup if they beat Motherwell on Saturday. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS
Brendan Rodgers is excited at the prospect of Celtic being able to parade the Scottish Cup if they beat Motherwell on Saturday. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS
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It’s a pleasure which has been denied for players at both Celtic
and Rangers down the years.

For obvious and depressing
reasons which need little explanation, an open-top bus parade around Glasgow to 
celebrate a cup final victory simply hasn’t been an option for either half of the Old Firm.

But in what Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers views as an encouraging sign of gradually
improving times, he and his players will have the opportunity to show off the silverware in the traditional manner afforded to all other clubs if they win the Scottish Cup final tomorrow.

It will only be the briefest of journeys, from Dalmarnock train station to Celtic Park itself, but it would at least allow Rodgers’ players to experience something which would provide memories to last a lifetime.

“The police dictate when the open top bus could be done, or not, and both clubs agreed what would be best,” said Rodgers as he prepares for the Hampden showdown with Motherwell.

“There was a possibility of us doing it last season after we won the treble but there were the bombings in Manchester, leading to heightened security around the country, and it had to be cancelled on safety grounds.

“We never assume anything but if it happens to us, then it will be Saturday and if it happens to Motherwell, it’s Sunday. There is nothing presumptuous about it. It is for safety and at least people know there is something planned, whatever team wins. For us, it would be Saturday after the game which is lovely.

“I remember my own first experience of an open top bus parade. It was when I was a young coach at Reading and we went from League One into the Championship. It was a bit like something from the Mike Bassett football manager movie!

“The bus route they had planned started from too far out. We all met at Rivermead Leisure Centre in Reading, all the players and staff got on the bus but there was no-one there. All the fans were in the city centre, so off we went and we were going about 40mph down the dual carriageway!

“I was thinking ‘Christ, I need to hold on here’ and then we turned past the Hexagon and all the supporters were there.

“I later had a few experiences of it when I was on the coaching staff at Chelsea, then at Swansea City when we got promotion. It’s a lovely feeling for fans and players and it’s good that it’s something Celtic will now have the opportunity to do.

“They are great memories that stay with you and it would be fantastic for the players and fans but we need to win the cup first of all.”

As Rodgers bids to complete an unprecedented ‘double 
treble’ for Celtic, he has dipped into what he has revealed is an extensive back catalogue of notes he keeps on the training sessions he takes with his players.

His library of notebooks, which include those he can regularly be seen scribbling in during matches, are another example of the fastidious attention to detail he brings to his work at the Scottish champions.

“You are not doing exactly what you did before, but it is interesting seeing some of the notes,” he said.

“I looked back this week at a session that we did before the Scottish Cup final against Aberdeen last year, one I wasn’t happy with at the time. I always summarise and evaluate after every session. That allows you to plan forward as well and look back and maybe look at the mentality. That is important. You do your work, whatever work it is, and it is good to reflect on how you can be better.

“I have got every single notebook from when I first became a manager. They are very short, sharp and concise entries. It is a page that gives me notes on where I can put my defensive items, attacking items and transitions or any substitutions or things that I’m thinking about.

“You’re not going to write a story but there are key points you put in to jog the memory and you can reflect with the players at half-time.

“Something might happen in the first minute that can affect the game for the second half and if you can give the player that detail to help them, then that’s the idea.

“But there are some games where it doesn’t matter because it’s an emotional response you want from the team and that’s where tactics don’t really matter.”

Rodgers, meanwhile, insists he is relaxed about the future of central defender Dedryck Boyata, who has just 12 months remaining on his contract 
at Celtic.

The 27-year-old, pictured inset, who hopes to be included in Belgium’s squad for this summer’s World Cup finals when it is named on Monday, is in negotiations over a new deal but Rodgers admits he is right to keep his options open for as long as possible.

“I think it’s one that’ll probably drift through the summer,” said Rodgers. “Dedryck just needs to concentrate on playing well and being ready for the weekend.

“We’ll see what happens on Monday, if he’s in the Belgian squad for the World Cup, and then he’ll come back after the summer and we’ll look at it from there.

“He’s a good guy. Rightly so, he’s at that stage of his career where he had to have a good think about it.

“He’s 27, so his next contract is a big contract for him. You have to allow the guys that 
time and for me as long as nothing changes and nothing shifts in their attitude, that’s okay.

“It’s never always the player, it could be the club. Hopefully they find the solutions between both.”

Rodgers has an almost
fully-fit squad to choose from for this weekend’s Hampden showpiece. Only on-loan Paris Saint-Germain striker Odsonne Edouard is unavailable.