Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers hailed the ‘incredible mentality’ of his players as they maintained their stranglehold on Scottish domestic silverware with the seventh consecutive trophy win of his tenure.
Ryan Christie scored the only goal of an absorbing Betfred Cup Final against Aberdeen, the midfielder’s strike against the club where he spent 18 months on loan being described by Rodgers as an act of the ‘football gods’.
While not entirely content with the technical and tactical level of his team’s performance at Hampden, Rodgers was full of praise for the heart and desire they displayed to extend the club’s domestic dominance.
It was a victory which also saw Rodgers reach a personal milestone as he equalled the all-time record of seven straight Scottish trophy triumphs for a manager set by Walter Smith at Rangers 24 years ago.
“Of course I take great pride in that and it feels great,” said Rodgers. “But my happiness is more for the players and the supporters. It’s a really satisfying day for us and the players deserve a huge amount of credit. The medal they have around their necks and the seventh trophy, they deserve all of it because they’ve been amazing since I came in.
“Like I said to them afterwards, we have to analyse the game because we can be better on the fast break attack and be more clinical. My overriding emotion is that I’m very proud of everything we are doing but we still have lots to improve on.
“They showed a lot of heart and a lot of fight. After the run of the games we’ve had, and especially after Thursday night away to Rosenborg, it’s a really tough game to play against Aberdeen because they’re very physical and very strong. To show the quality for the goal, that was probably our biggest moment in the first half.
“My only disappointment with the second half was we could have been more clinical in key moments, especially when you’re having to defend a bit deeper. We broke away fantastic, the pace we broke away with and the support we had up there but we never made the last pass, which then makes the game a lot tighter towards the end than it should have been.
“That’s my only criticism. It was incredible mentality from the players, the focus in their game was very, very good.
“It’s the footballing gods that we saw today with Ryan scoring the goal. Lo and behold, he scored against the team he was at for 18 months.”