A bolt of lightning lit up the sky above Hampden’s East Stand as the ball was played to Tom Rogic. It marked a key moment in what has been an electrifying season for Celtic.
The Australian slotted the ball past Joe Lewis two minutes into injury time, lifting his team to new heights and leaving a shocked Aberdeen in the depths of despair.
“It opened up for me and then it was all just a blur. I can’t really remember what happened after that,” said the Australian, who had entered the fray in the 27th minute for the injured Kieran Tierney.
“It was a bit of a five-a-side finish with my right peg. I didn’t know there was a lightning bolt just as I scored. Maybe it was meant to be!
“It’s hard to describe what it feels like to score a goal like that and then go and jump into the crowd. It’s impossible to really put it into words and do it justice but it’s probably the best feeling you can have on the football pitch.
“It feels pretty good, in fact it’s an amazing feeling. It hasn’t really sunk in yet. For everyone, it’s been a perfect end to what has been a special season for all of us. To go unbeaten domestically, to get the treble... it’s just amazing. It’s something that we will look back on forever.”
Only the fourth time in Celtic’s illustrious history that a team has netted the full haul of major domestic honours, the fact they kept pushing for the winner deep into injury time to clinch it illustrated the collective desire and drive that has rendered them invincible.
“We would rather have won the game 3-0 or something instead of waiting until the last minute,” added Rogic, “but when you get the goal that late, it makes it even sweeter. We got our reward in the end.”
For Scott Sinclair, the rewards this term have been plentiful, but the attacker – who was voted the Player of the Year by his club, the football writers and his fellow professionals – believes that if the squad can be kept together, they can set even loftier targets for next term.
“How do we build on that? We can only do it again. We go and celebrate as a team, but when we get to next season, we want to build in the Champions League and progress in that competition,” said Sinclair.
“The season has turned out better than I expected, much better actually. When I spoke to the manager he said come up here, be happy and play every week. I’m enjoying my football, and there’s nothing better than to pick up trophies and personal awards along the way.”
The fact the season was crowned off in the same week that the Lisbon Lions celebrated the 50th anniversary of their European Cup success offered the current crop an incentive to round off their record-breaking year in style and ensure themselves a modicum of that legendary status.
“Those guys are legends, but hopefully we can build as a team, keep going year by year, keep winning things and keep a tight group together,” added Sinclair.
“Going into the game, we knew what was at stake. It was one last game, and it was one of those edgy games, but after half an hour we picked the game up and went on from there.”
The players all admitted to nerves as their campaign reached its denouement, with Mikael Lustig claiming they struggled with the enormity of being presented with the opportunity to stake their place in history, and captain Scott Brown confessing there was a stage in the match when he feared the story may not have the fairytale ending. That was in the ninth minute, when Johnny Hayes netted first for Aberdeen. “But we then go straight up the park and score,” the skipper said of the 11th-minute retort. “Stuart Armstrong scored and he’s been doing that all season for us; scored, created chances and driven us on from midfield. It was a great finish.
“The fact it went down to the last few minutes sums us up. But when you go back to that first game in Gibraltar, I don’t think anyone would have expected this; for us to go all the way through the season undefeated and to win three trophies. That’s phenomenal.”