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The Invincible Celtic

27 May 2021

2016/17 was Celtic’s “Invincible” season under new Manager Brendan Rodgers who combined tactical awareness with total (apparently) commitment to the club. We would eventually be disillusioned in the latter, but this was not yet obvious in 2017.

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The first game after the hated winter shutdown saw Celtic in the Scottish Cup against Albion Rovers in a game that was shifted from Cliftonhill to Airdrie. Celtic won comfortably 3-0, and then on February 11, a few old scores were paid back when Inverness Caledonian Thistle were given a good old-fashioned 6-0 drubbing before St Mirren were similarly disposed of 4-1 a month later.

Then with the SPL well won, and the Scottish League Cup also on the sideboard, Celtic met Rangers again in the Scottish Cup semi-final on April 23. There was no penalty shoot-out this year and although the score was only 2-0 with a goal from Callum McGregor and a penalty from Scott Sinclair, the victory was easy and at least two Rangers players might have, with justice, been red carded by referee Willie Collum. Not that it really mattered, for Celtic were comfortably in the final to meet Aberdeen.

The Scottish Cup Final on May 27 2017 was one of the best. It was played on a stifling hot day with thunderstorms going on all round the stadium – but no-one really noticed. Aberdeen were not a bad team in 2017, but Celtic were better. Jonny Hayes, then playing for Aberdeen, scored first but Stuart Armstrong equalised soon after. Kieran Tierney, who had had an outstanding season, was then taken off with a broken jaw after a collision which might have been accidental, but then again, maybe wasn’t.

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Then at the end of an exciting second half in which Celtic were always marginally, but never overwhelmingly, on top, Tom Rogic ran through and scored an epic goal. (We were told later that a ferocious thunderstorm was in progress at the time, but no-one noticed or cared!).

The Celtic half of the stadium erupted in joy, and Celtic then held out against a late, spirited Aberdeen assault. The Cup had been won for the 37th time and full marks to Gordon, Lustig, Simunovic, Boyata, Tierney (Rogic), McGregor, Brown, Armstrong, Roberts (Sviatchenko), Griffiths and Sinclair for winning Celtic’s first treble since 2001. How nice it was to see Kieran Tierney back to enjoy the celebrations after his visit to the hospital! Broken jaw or not, Kieran was, at this stage at least, a real Celt.

Andrew Milne started More than 90 Minutes in 2001. He has written for numerous publications and online about Celtic.  He is a former newspaper columnist with the Daily Ireland and the man behind celticfanzine.com. He is host of the Celtic Soul Podcast & Celtic AM pre-match events at Malone’s in Glasgow on match days and follows Celtic Home & Away. He is a season ticket holder for Celtic FC and the Republic of Ireland. He is also P.R.O. of St. Margaret’s CSC, a member of the Celtic Trust and the Celtic Graves Association.

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