Celtic look to se­cure 100th tro­phy against Aberdeen

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -


Celtic man­ager Bren­dan Rodgers can­not af­ford to linger long on his side’s Euro­pean elim­i­na­tion as they pre­pare to take on Aberdeen in the Scot­tish League Cup fi­nal to­mor­row. The match at Ham­p­den Park is an op­por­tu­nity for Rodgers to se­cure his place in the club’s his­tory books days af­ter he watched as the Hoops were pow­er­less to stop a Lionel Mes­si­in­spired Barcelona se­cure a 2-0 win at Celtic Park on Wed­nes­day.

They were al­ready cer­tain to bow out of the Cham­pi­ons League in the group stage but that re­sult ended the Glas­gow gi­ants’ hopes of even mak­ing it into the Europa League, con­demn­ing them to bot­tom spot in Group C. That was a blow for the am­bi­tious for­mer Liver­pool man­ager who has made a mas­sive im­pact since his ar­rival in the sum­mer. But now Rodgers, who has seen Celtic go 10 points clear of Aberdeen at the top of the Scot­tish Premier­ship af­ter just 12 games, has the chance to win a first piece of sil­ver­ware with the club. If Celtic do win, it would be an his­toric 100th tro­phy for them-and they hope it will be the first leg of a tre­ble, with the league ti­tle look­ing in­evitable and the Scot­tish Cup to come. De­spite their huge suc­cess in Scot­land, Celtic have only won the tre­ble on three oc­ca­sions in their his­tory with the last com­ing in the 2000/01 sea­son un­der Rodgers’ fel­low North­ern Ir­ish­man Martin O’Neill.

Emilio Izaguirre, who has been at Park­head for the past six years, is one of the more ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers in the Celtic dress­ing room and he in­sisted their Euro­pean exit wouldn’t have a neg­a­tive im­pact on the play­ers. “Barcelona are the best team in the world. It’s as sim­ple as that. We tried our best, but it was so dif­fi­cult to play against them,” the Hon­duran in­ter­na­tional said. “But now we fo­cus on the cup fi­nal. That now means ev­ery­thing. “We have to put this game be­hind us. To­mor­row is a huge match for all of us and I am look­ing to win an­other medal for Celtic. “This club is all about win­ning ti­tles and this is a fan­tas­tic chance to do it again in front of our sup­port­ers. “We need to win this fi­nal. We are dis­ap­pointed to lose at Celtic Park, we never want to do that, but we can make it up for it soon.”

Dons hun­gry for sil­ver­ware

They will face an Aberdeen side des­per­ate to re­claim a tro­phy they last se­cured in 2014. Man­ager Derek McInnes was the man who led the club to that suc­cess, their first tro­phy in 19 years. He be­lieves his side, who have pro­vided Celtic’s main chal­lenge in the league for the past two years, can in­flict a first do­mes­tic de­feat of the cam­paign on the Glas­gow club de­spite los­ing their two league clashes this sea­son.”This is where our play­ers want to be. They all are at Aberdeen to win tro­phies and kick on in their ca­reers. To­mor­row is a chance for them to show that,” he said. “It’s clear there have been im­prove­ments at Celtic. Their league form last sea­son was good and they only lost three games, twice against us, but if they con­tinue in a sim­i­lar vein they are go­ing to be out of sight. “But ev­ery team is beat­able and we cer­tainly feel we are closer to them than maybe some peo­ple think. “We have to play well, but we have a real con­fi­dence and be­lief in our own abil­ity that we can go and win the thing.” —AFP

Celtic man­ager Bren­dan Rodgers

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