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Celtic inch towards Scottish clean sweep

Glasgow (AFP) – The Scottish season may only be three months old but already talk is turning to Celtic completing a rare domestic clean sweep.

Celtic are the runaway leaders in the Scottish Premiership where they top the table by a massive nine points from rivals Rangers — with a game in hand — thanks to nine wins from their 10 league matches to date.

Their impressive form means a sixth league title looks inevitable with only a quarter of the fixtures played with former manager Davie Hay predicting Celtic could go the rest of the season unbeaten.

Brendan Rodgers has also led his side to the League Cup final following a defeat of Rangers in the semi-final and could collect the first silverware of the season if they defeat Aberdeen in the final on November 27.

Despite their huge success in Scotland, Celtic have only won the treble on three occasions in their history with the last coming in the 2000/01 season under Martin O’Neill.

It would be an incredible achievement if former Liverpool boss Rodgers, who only joined the club in the summer, could emulate his countryman and complete the clean sweep in his first season in charge.

And it is testament to the start the Northern Irishman has had as Celtic manager that his biggest domestic disappointment this season has been dropping points to Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

A last-minute Alex Fisher goal secured a 2-2 draw for Richie Foran’s side at the Caledonian Stadium back in September and denied Celtic a perfect start to the season.

“It’s testament to the players and their mentality but the Inverness game still rankles with me a bit. We should have had ten wins out of ten but conceded late on,” Rodgers said.

“We should have 10 wins out of 10. We put in a good performance that day, didn’t take our chances and, of course, something like that can happen.”

Celtic will have the chance to avenge that result when Inverness visit Celtic Park on Saturday and Rodgers expects another tough game against Foran’s side.

“Inverness didn’t start so well in the season, their football was a little bit nervous and they played more direct then, but I saw on the day that they had some good players with good quality,” Rodgers said.

“Their last results have shown they’re starting to play more football now, passing the ball, they scored some good goals against Hearts last week, but will be disappointed with the goals that they conceded.

“Inverness got the result in the end, but I’m really happy with how the players are improving. For this game, the last one before the international break, we want to ensure there are no slip-ups.”

Rangers will be desperate not to fall any further behind their city rivals as they take on Ross County at Victoria Park looking to build on their 3-0 defeat of Kilmarnock last weekend.

Fixtures (1500 GMT unless otherwise stated)

Celtic v Inverness CT, Dundee v Motherwell, Hearts v St Johnstone, Kilmarnock v Hamilton


Ross County v Rangers (1200)

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