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.
“It’s gone and it’s fine. I don’t leave anything out. I’m always open with my communication with the players.
“I don’t tell them something in six months I can tell them now, but it’s always to help them. So there is no drama.”
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
- Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
- Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Anti-homophobia group demands PSG explain Gueye absence
- Where to find Newcastle vs. Arsenal on US TV
- Frankfurt ready to rock Rangers in Seville under Borre’s influence
- Late goal spree takes Moroccan club Berkane to CAF Cup final
- Brentford duo report racist abuse of family at Everton
- Mbappe says decision ‘almost’ made over PSG future
- Martinez brace ensures Inter take title race to final week
- Suarez bids Atletico farewell as Sevilla qualify for Champions League
- Sevilla draw with Atletico to qualify for Champions League
- Orlando Pirates reach CAF Cup final despite shock home defeat