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Celtic manager Rodgers proud of his record-breaking ‘Bhoys’

Glasgow (AFP) – Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers said he was proud of his players for overcoming every challenge they have had to face on their way to breaking their own 100-year-old British record unbeaten domestic run. 

The Scottish champions extended their domestic unbeaten streak to 63 games with a 4-0 thrashing of St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

In the process they stretched their lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership to three points following Aberdeen’s 2-2 draw away to Hamilton Academical.

The Scottish champions eclipsed the Celtic team of Willie Maley who went 62 league games unbeaten — pre-League Cup whilst the Scottish Cup was not played during World War I — between 1915 and 1917.

Rodgers’s team are now joint-third in UEFA’s all-time domestic unbeaten records list, alongside Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol.

Gibraltar’s Lincoln Red Imps (88) — who ironically began Rodgers’s tenure last year with an embarrassing defeat in a Champions League first leg match — are ahead of them.

And out in front are the great Steaua Bucharest team of the late 1980s, with 104.

“For us to break that record is special,” Rodgers, who was marking his 400th game as a manager, said.

“You just need to look back at that side that Willie Maley had. I grew up being aware of players from that era so that tells you the level and quality of that team.

“It’s an incredible feat by the players and a wonderful example of professionalism and of creating high standards every single day.

“The level of consistency they have shown is absolutely remarkable.

“It hasn’t just happened overnight. It’s something that has been created. It’s a mentality and a desire to work.”

– ‘A remarkable achievement’ –

The 44-year-old Northern Irishman, who has restored his reputation at Celtic after being fired by Liverpool in October 2015, said people may sniff at the level of opposition in Scotland but insisted players had to cope with external factors too.  

“This is a group of players who have had to deal with everything — poor pitches, tiredness after Champions League games, going behind in games and playing in big semi-finals and cup finals,” said Rodgers.

“They’ve had to cope with everything you would need to as a professional footballer and they’ve come through it and today was another example of that.

“This St Johnstone team are difficult to break down but eventually they got there with their quality and fitness.

“It is a remarkable achievement and I think they deserve all the credit they get for it.”

Rodgers has yet to be beaten by a Scottish side since taking charge at Celtic Park in May 2016, but he says it is getting harder to keep up their remarkable run.

“You play in some big games here at Celtic and with a big expectancy. And as the run goes on teams increase their level even more,” he said.

“Every game against Celtic is a massive game but everyone wants to be the first team that beats Celtic.

“Of course that will happen at some point, but how the players are coping with that, and the level of their football, is really admirable.”

Rodgers finished his debut season without defeat as he led Celtic to a domestic treble.

Despite it only being November, many are already tipping them to repeat last season’s feat. They will have a chance to retain the League Cup when they face Motherwell in the final on November 26.

“People will think it because of our consistency and level but it only takes something to happen in the game for it to go against you — a bad decision or you make a mistake,” Rodgers admitted.

“So, it would be very, very difficult. 

“My job is to ensure that the players are never complacent.”

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