Brown the heart behind Celtic dominance – Rodgers

Glasgow (AFP) – Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers says captain Scott Brown’s leadership on the pitch has been the catalyst behind his side’s remarkable season with more records perhaps set to fall.

The champions are looking to become the first team to end a 38-game Scottish Premiership campaign unbeaten and will break the league points record if they avoid defeat in Sunday’s season finale against Hearts.

Rodgers’s side have fired in 104 league goals in their all-conquering season — just one short of the record 105 they amassed in 2003-04 and a win against Hearts would also see them set a new record for number of league wins in a campaign.

Brown, who will collect the Scottish Premiership trophy for the seventh time in his 10-year Celtic career after the match on Sunday, has been in inspirational form this season and his manager praised his contribution to the club.

“He has been inspirational this year. I can’t fault him in any aspect of his performance levels,” Rodgers said.

“As a manager it’s very important you have that chemistry between you and your captain, and it was pretty clear early on when I met him that he was top-class in his outlook and what he wanted to achieve.

“From first meeting him, right the way through this season he hasn’t let up.

“Importantly, for me, his performance levels on the field have been absolutely sensational, in how he has led the team and he has been a real catalyst on the football idea we have tried to impose on to the team.”

Victory in next week’s Scottish Cup final would see Brown join the select group of Celtic captains to have skippered them to a domestic treble.

“It would be very deserving,” Rodgers added.

“For a boy like that who has been here for 10 years now and to have won all the trophies he has, it would bring a great climax for him, and it would be very fitting of a captain of his quality to do that.”

Rangers fans will be glad to see the end of what has been a disappointing first season back in the Scottish top flight.

Rangers, who round off a dispiriting campaign at St Johnstone on Sunday, were knocked out of both cup competitions by Celtic and will finish the season in third spot behind their Old Firm rivals and second place Aberdeen.

However, Portuguese manager Pedro Caixinha, who joined the club in March, is confident his side are moving in the right direction and will be genuine trophy contenders next season.

“Rangers will always look to be the best team in the country. Rangers want to be big again and that’s what we are working on,” the 46-year-old said.

Fixtures (1400GMT kick-offs)

Saturday

Hamilton v Dundee, Inverness CT v Motherwell, Kilmarnock v Ross County

Sunday (1130GMT)

Celtic v Hearts, Partick Thistle v Aberdeen, St Johnstone v Rangers

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