Brendan Rodgers insists he has refused to contemplate the personal significance of winning a “double treble” as Celtic manager because he cannot afford to let emotion cloud his judgment in today’s William Hill Scottish Cup final.
Celtic are bidding to become the first team in Scottish football history to complete back-to-back domestic trebles when they face underdogs Motherwell in the Hampden showpiece.
For Rodgers, victory today would also make him the first Celtic manager to win six consecutive domestic trophies, eclipsing the previous club record of five-in-a-row achieved by both Willie Maley and Jock Stein.
It is a momentous prospect for the 45-year-old former Liverpool boss but he is determined to focus solely on the immediate task in front of him.
“It’s a chance to create history in the club and that’s great,” said Rodgers. “But I haven’t really thought about it too much. If we can get our sixth trophy in two seasons it would be absolutely amazing, but the thought is about performing in the game.
“I tend to take the personal emotion out of it because, if you go down that road, it can come back to affect you when you reach a point in the game when you have to make a decision. So I haven’t really thought about what it would mean to me personally. My happiness would be for the players, for the supporters. My job, as I said when I first came in, was to inspire supporters and give them some great memories. If we win, that will do that for them.
“For me, I said last year after winning the treble that at least I knew that whenever the time came to leave Celtic, I knew I wasn’t a total disaster. That is always the fear. You come into a club you support, you’ve got to be with friends and family for the rest of your life once you’ve gone and you don’t want them saying you were hopeless! At least I have got something to show for it. Above that, I never think so much about it.”
Rodgers is less concerned by how Celtic’s success during his tenure is viewed in his former workplace of English football. He is aware that many critics south of the border regard his work as having less credibility due to the overall standard of the Scottish game.
“That’s something you can’t really change,” added Rodgers. “For as long as I can remember, there has always been that look up from the south that the game is better down there.
“It’s not anything for us to worry about. There are some great clubs in Scotland and it is a competitive game. The perception is never the reality. I think coaches, managers and people within the game understand the difficulties of it. They understand the complexities of trying to re-energise things after what we achieved last year. Our job is to win and that’s what we aim for.”
Motherwell captain Carl McHugh feels they have a real chance of upsetting the odds. “We’re really confident,” he said. “We are working towards a game plan where we can go and beat Celtic.”