Celtic were only one game away from a truly unthinkable achievement. They’d already won the league and the League Cup, and without losing a single match. A win in their final match of the season, in the Scottish Cup Final against Aberdeen, would not only secure a treble, but a historic unbeaten season. By David Ronney
When Brendan Rodgers took over the reigns from Ronny Deila at Celtic Park, I don’t think anyone (including Celtic fans) could have predicted the level of success he would bring to the club in his first season in charge of the Hoops.
Although it was a season to arguably forget in Europe, it was domestically where the magic happened. Not a single defeat endured during both Celtic’s Premiership and League Cup campaigns, and in the final game of the season in late May, only Derek McInnes’ Aberdeen side between them and an unbelievable feat.
Hibernian had written history at Hampden in the Scottish Cup just a year prior, so it was down to Celtic to write some history of their own.
Celtic and Aberdeen at this point had already met in a cup final during the campaign, when Rodgers’ side were crowned winners of the League Cup after a 3-0 win. But this tie wasn’t going to be as easy.
Celtic couldn’t have been more confident going into this tie. They had been scoring for fun during their Scottish Cup campaign with 15 goals scored in just four matches, compared to that of Aberdeen who scored nine.
The match didn’t start the way Celtic had hoped as Jonny Hayes struck a half volley early on to put the Dons ahead. Stuart Armstrong then brought it level moments later with a wonder goal of his own.
However, that wasn’t to be the last of Celtic’s troubles. Influential left-back Kieran Tierney was injured after a powerful blow to his jaw from Jayden Stockley. Tom Rogic came on to replace him as Celtic opted for a three-man defence for the remainder of the final.
Not a single game in Scottish football that season had been as intense as this one. Neither side could find the cutting edge in the remainder of the first half nor in the majority of the second. That was until Celtic’s Aussie produced a moment of pure magic in the final minutes of the game that will go down in the club’s history.
Even as I watch the goal back now as I write this piece, it gives me goosebumps when Rogic receives the ball on the right side, charges down the field, brushing off the opposition, and finishes under Joe Lewis at the near post to send Hampden roaring. It’s a moment I will never forget.
To complete a treble is one incredible achievement, but to do it unbeaten in all domestic competitions is another level. No team in Scotland had been able to achieve this prior to Brendan Rodgers arrival.
From the moment Scott Sinclair netted the winner on his debut away at Hearts, in the first game of the Scottish season, to Celtic lifting the Scottish Cup for the 37th time, it’s a season that’s cemented itself in history for decades to come.