Brendan Rodgers keen to add another Scottish Cup to Celtic trophy haul
Runaway SPL leaders ease through Inverness clash with ruthless six goal victory
Celtic’s Scott Brown and Kieran Tierney with manager Brendan Rodgers after their Scottish Cup fifth round win. Andrew Milligan/PA
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers gave his players a history lesson before their William Hill Scottish Cup tie with Inverness and they responded with six of the best.
Rodgers stressed the importance of the trophy to the club ahead of the fifth-round clash and his players showed a ruthless streak to thrash Caley Thistle 6-0.
There was no doubt about the outcome from the moment Mikael Lustig ran on to Nir Bitton’s lofted ball and finished in style in the 20th minute at Parkhead.
Moussa Dembele had his second hat-trick in six days completed before the hour mark and Celtic were still pushing right to the end, with Kieran Tierney and Scott Brown getting on the score sheet in the closing minutes.
It was a 29th win in 30 domestic games for Celtic under Rodgers and they show no signs of letting up, especially with a treble up for grabs.
“I said to the players before the game that the Scottish Cup is synonymous with Celtic — 36 times the club has won the trophy,” he said.
“My memories as a child growing up, a lot of it was based around the Scottish Cup.
“We want to make it 37. I said we had four cup finals and now we have three cup finals. So we just keep our focus, put it to bed until the next round, but it’s a competition, like them all, that we want to do our very best in.”
Rodgers warned after the game that his side woud continue to improve throughout the season.
“I always felt as the season goes on we will get better and better and better,” the former Liverpool manager said.
“We have a little bit more coaching time in the second part of the season, so we can prepare the players in training, work well and just keep them focused.”
Inverness manager Richie Foran was eager to move on from the defeat and lift his players, who have gone 13 Ladbrokes Premiership games without a win.
“Six goals was maybe a bit flattering for Celtic but that’s football,” he said. “I told the lads we need to forget about this now.
“They can do that to any side when they play like that. They have created that fear factor now which had been gone for quite a few years.
“It’s probably the best Celtic squad for quite a few years as well. They are flying with confidence, flying with energy, flying with pace and they have an abundance of quality.”
Foran heavily criticised his players after a recent 3-0 defeat by Hamilton, accusing some of lacking bottle and hiding.
But he was at pains to absolve their character after their latest heavy loss and ordered them to return to training with “smiles on faces”.
“We were totally outclassed but we don’t play Celtic every week, thankfully,” he said. “We lift ourselves again, that’s what we are good at.
“We’ve got leaders in there, characters. We’ve got bottle. We go again Tuesday. There will be no hiding from my players, that’s for sure”.