Brendan Rodgers claimed that perhaps the “stars were aligned” after substitute Tom Rogic’s sensational injury-time winner gave Celtic a 2-1 William Hill Scottish Cup final win over Aberdeen and clinched an historic treble for the Hoops.
Winger Jonny Hayes volleyed the Dons into the lead in the ninth minute only for Parkhead midfielder Stuart Armstrong to level two minutes later.
The Hoops grew stronger as the second-half went on and in the first minute of three added on by referee Bobby Madden, Rogic, on in the first-half for Kieran Tierney, fired in a close-range drive to win the match and ensure that the Hoops, remarkably, completed the whole domestic season unbeaten with the club’s first treble since 2001.
Celtic this week celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Lisbon Lions becoming the first British club to win the European Cup.
“Maybe the stars were aligned this year with it being the anniversary year for Celtic and there was just a feeling about this season,” said Rodgers, who revealed Tierney may need an operation on his mouth after having to come off following a challenge by Jayden Stockley.
“But don’t get me wrong – we’ve had to earn it. We had to work hard.
“We are elated. It was a very tough game and to win it the way we did was special. I felt it was coming.
“The first half was bit broken, you give credit to Aberdeen for that.
“I said to the players at half time we need to stay calm.
“They were playing a man-marking game so you have to be patient and move the ball side to side and eventually it becomes really difficult to defend, when you are the defending team and that’s what happened.
“We got our flow much better and created some good chances but of course it took us right to the end to make the winner.
“It is an incredible feeling and congratulations to the players.
“It is a monumental achievement, it has been a pleasure to be up here.
“The league is a fantastic league, it is very competitive and we have to be at our best.
“That’s why I push the players every day so we come through a league campaign unbeaten and this was going to be a really tough game.
“We had to show why we are champions, to come from behind to play the way we did the second half.
“We had to adjust to Kieran coming off. It is a fantastic achievement and it will take a few days to sink in.”
Rodgers became only the third Celtic manager after Jock Stein, twice, and Martin O’Neill, to complete the clean sweep.
Asked about being spoken about in the same breath as the two Celtic giants, the former Liverpool boss said: “It is a huge honour. What they’ve achieved and you see how difficult it is.
“The great history of this club and the great managers and players who have been here before me – it’s still a very difficult thing to do.
“To have achieved that in the first season alongside everything else that we’ve done is very humbling.
“I still get a funny feeling and it doesn’t sit quite right with me when I hear comparisons.
“Jock was the real big pioneer in leading the club the way it wanted to go. Martin did an incredible job here and history will judge me.
“I’ve only just begun really, so when I leave here people will look on what I did.
“It’s been truly enjoyable and for me it’s a privilege to manage the club and it’s a real special feeling for me.”
A dejected Dons manager Derek McInnes admitted his side were beaten by a touch of “class” by Rogic but is confident that his side can go one better next season.
He said: “It felt like two proper teams slugging it out.
“There were chances, both keepers made great saves and good saves and when it’s slugging it out there is sometimes that lucky punch or that killer punch and today I think Rogic produced a bit of class, a brilliant finish, though we are disappointed of course, compounded because it was a cup final.
“We put a lot into it and I’m just gutted for the players, and gutted for the supporters who made a big effort again today.
“I feel we will be back. I absolutely feel we can come back here next year and it make it go our way that time. It is fine lines.”