BRENDAN Rodgers has urged his Celtic players to seize the chance to make history and become the first team to win consecutive domestic trebles by beating Motherwell in the William Hill Scottish Cup final at Hampden this afternoon.
If Scott Brown and his team mates overcome Stephen Robinson’s men in the final competitive fixture of the 2017/18 campaign they will have done something that no other Scottish side has ever before.
The Celtic side managed by Jock Stein was bidding to complete the double treble when they played in the Scottish Cup final in 1970 – but they lost 3-1 to Aberdeen
Rodgers is keen for his players, who have already retained the Betfred Cup and Ladbrokes Premiership titles they won last season, to squander the opportunity to go one better than those great sides.
“It’s a brilliant chance for us,” he said. “I never say to the players ‘you’ve got to take this chance because it will be the only chance in your life’ because part of me thinks ‘do you not think you can do it again?’.
“So I never really go down that route with players, but there’s no doubt there’s an opportunity to write another chapter in the great history of the club, there’s no doubt about that.
“You think of the great history of Scottish football – in all the various eras and levels of players – and there’s a reason why it’s never been done. All you want is a chance and we have a chance.”
Rodgers was concerned about how easily the Hampden turf cut up in the Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers last month despite his men romping to a 4-0 triumph, their most emphatic victory over their city rivals at the venue in 49 years.
Ominously for Motherwell, he was pleased with how the pitch was looking when he visited the stadium on Thursday.
“I said my piece on it at the time and that’s it,” he said. “I don’t need to now. But I say it about the Celtic pitch as well remember. I don’t say it about opponents’ pitches or Hampden. I say it about Celtic’s pitch as well. The demands are to try and get the best possible."
Rodgers believes the experience his side has gained of such big occasions since he took over two years ago will prove crucial.
"We did it last year, we won the treble," he said. "That always gives you confidence and gives you that level of control going into the game.”