Glasgow (AFP) – Brendan Rodgers hailed his exceptional Celtic side as they edged closer to completing a record-breaking campaign.
The Hoops smashed through the 100-goal barrier in the league with a 5-0 thrashing of Partick Thistle at Firhill on Thursday.
A Leigh Griffiths penalty opened the scoring before Australian international Tom Rogic slid in a second and Roberts’ stunning strike made it 3-0 before half-time.
Callum McGregor and Roberts then added to the score-line in the last 10 minutes to help Celtic move on to 104 goals — just one short of the record 105 they amassed in season 2003-04.
The champions, who are one game away from ending the season undefeated, also equalled their record points haul of 103 set in 2001-02, and a win against Hearts in Sunday’s season finale would see them set a new club record for number of league wins in a campaign.
“If you go through 38 games of a season unbeaten — with the level of games we’ve had — and perform like we’ve done then it’s a truly remarkable achievement relative to the time that we’re playing in,” Rodgers, whose side are 30 points clear of Aberdeen at the top of the table, said.
“I think if you look at the numbers of tonight we matched 33 wins, which is the most wins in a league campaign by Celtic. We go one behind in the record for goals, so we have got everything to play for.
“We go in with a big concentration for the game on Sunday. We will look to perform with the same focus, perform as well as we have done tonight and if we can do that then it puts in with a great chance of winning.”
With one eye on next week’s Scottish Cup final — which would give Rodgers the chance to lead Celtic to a historic treble — the manager utilised his squad players for the match against Thistle.
“They will always get opportunities because, for me, the collective is what this squad is all about,” he said.
“We are playing our 57th competitive game tonight so I need a squad of players. But I need a squad of players who are very focussed, that are selfless and are ready when they are called upon.
“They know they have my trust and if they work hard and work well on a daily basis then I have no drama in putting them in.
“And they showed their qualities and professionalism tonight.”
Goal-scorer Griffiths appeared to vent his frustration at Rodgers when the Celtic striker was substituted in the second-half, but the manager played down the incident.
“For a minute, he forgot and thought about himself instead of the team,” Rodgers said.
“He’s a brilliant boy and all strikers will always be the same. He just needed a wee reminder that is not about him or any individual
“He was outstanding tonight and he understood I also needed to protect him as the only fit striker.