Glasgow (AFP) – Celtic stand on the verge of reaching a historic milestone when they return to league action on Wednesday.
The runaway league leaders have been in cold storage for the past three weeks as the Scottish Premiership took a winter break but took a step closer to a domestic treble on Sunday with a 3-0 defeat of Albion Rovers in the Scottish Cup.
That result means the Hoops could now equal a club record run of 26 domestic games unbeaten at the start of a season with a draw or a win against St Johnstone on Wednesday.
That record was set by the legendary Lisbon Lions side managed by Jock Stein, who became the first British club to lift the European Cup in 1967, and present day manager Brendan Rodgers admitted it was a honour for the current crop to be mentioned alongside them.
“To be talked of in the same breath as guys who created the legend of this club would obviously be a huge privilege,” Rodgers said.
“I haven’t really thought on it, to be honest, I just try to look to win our games, irrespective of what the consequences of that means.
“But, of course, anywhere you’re mentioned in that same breath as those guys, it gives a great privilege but we have a lot of hard work to do and St Johnstone will be a tough test for us.
“They’ve done very well with Tommy and particularly away from home they’ve done well, so we know it will be a good test of our qualities but it’s another game we’re looking forward to.”
The match against St Johnstone should also see club captain Scott Brown reach his own personal landmark with the midfielder set to make his 400th appearance for the Hoops.
Brown joined Celtic from Hibs in 2007 and Rodgers was full of praise for the 31-year-old’s contribution to the club.
“It’s a remarkable achievement by a top-class professional,” he said. “I didn’t know that’s what it was but to play that number of games at a club this size, your professionalism, enthusiasm, energy for the game and commitment to being a top professional has to be there.
“I’ve said it on many occasions since I’ve walked in the door here. My impressions of him were very positive. He’s a remarkable leader.
“They take a great lead from him, the players in the changing room. He’s at the very front from the first steps we make on to the training field.
“The warm-up, right from the start he sets an incredible example in his performance level and I think he’ll go on and make a raft of more appearances.
“He shows a great example to the players and he’s been playing at the top of his game this season, so 400 will be great for him but I feel there’s more to come as well.”
Fixtures (1945 unless otherwise stated)
Celtic v St Johnstone
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