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‘Rodgers has exceeded expectations’

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'Rodgers has exceeded expectations'

'Rodgers has exceeded expectations'

Charlie Nicholas

Football Expert

Last Updated: 26/05/17 8:29pm

Brendan Rodgers has enjoyed a superb first season at Celtic

Brendan Rodgers has enjoyed a superb first season at Celtic

Brendan Rodgers has enjoyed a superb first season at Celtic

Ahead of the Scottish Cup final between treble-chasing Celtic and Aberdeen, live on Sky Sports, Soccer Saturday pundit Charlie Nicholas gives his verdict on Brendan Rodgers, how Celtic would do in the Premier League and offers up a prediction for the clash at Hampden Park.

How have Celtic done this season?

The boys wind me up in the Soccer Saturday studio about the standard of Scottish football but you can only beat what is in front of you. They have struggled in the Champions League and I’m quite harsh on them usually, but they’ve been enjoyable to watch this season.

They have been far too good for the league. Aberdeen were the main challengers and they have beaten them five times. They’re going for the treble, it’s the 50-year anniversary of the Lisbon Lions and it’s all set up for a historic event at Hampden Park on Saturday.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers and Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes will meet in the Scottish Cup final

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers and Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes will meet in the Scottish Cup final

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers and Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes will meet in the Scottish Cup final
'Rodgers has exceeded expectations''Rodgers has exceeded expectations'

Celtic vs Aberdeen

May 27, 2017, 2:00pm

Live on

How has Brendan Rodgers done?

Rodgers has exceeded expectations. When he realised what team he had, when they were struggling against sides in the Champions League qualifiers, he realised what a mess they were.

Rodgers has exceeded expectations at Celtic, says Charlie Nicholas

Rodgers has exceeded expectations at Celtic, says Charlie Nicholas

Rodgers has exceeded expectations at Celtic, says Charlie Nicholas

He added Scott Sinclair, Moussa Dembele and Craig Gordon and he’s improved every player there. Dedryck Boyata looked like he couldn’t run last season and now he looks a decent defender.

Can he take them on to the next level? That’s the real judgement for them.

How would Celtic do in the Premier League?

Celtic captain Scott Brown lifts the Ladbrokes Premiership trophy

Celtic captain Scott Brown lifts the Ladbrokes Premiership trophy

Celtic captain Scott Brown lifts the Ladbrokes Premiership trophy

They’d really struggle in the Premier League. It will never happen but you can tell by the standard in the Champions League.

People have suggested they could be in top six but they’d be in the bottom half. They’re a gigantic club because of the fans they have but the reality is that the team wouldn’t be a good Premier League one.

How does the current Celtic squad compare to the Lisbon Lions?

Celtic’s European Cup winners are remembered at a special event in Glasgow to celebrate 50 years since the ‘Lisbon Lions’ made history.

They’re not even close to the Lisbon Lions, anybody who is realistic can see that. This team aren’t even as good as Martin O’Neill’s team. Relative to the inflation of wages, a lot of these players will be on a third of that team. They were signing Chris Sutton for £6m when that was big money.

I wouldn’t take anything away from this team, but they are still the team which lost in Gibraltar to the Red Imps.

Celtic legends Neil Lennon and John Hartson think the current side are comparable to Martin O’Neill’s team as they look to win the Scottish Cup final

Forget the Lisbon Lions. They’re aren’t even close. They were beating all of the top teams and had big players. This team will be really judged in the European arena.

For Celtic to really compete in the Champions League they’re going to have to make significant additions, but enjoy it everyone, it’s a tremendous achievement.

Nicholas’ Scottish Cup final prediction

Aberdeen could cause an upset if they’re not scared of Celtic. They need to attack down the wings with the pace they have.

Aberdeen Cup final hero Theo Snelders and ex-Celtic goalkeeper Pat Bonner look back on the 1990 Scottish Cup final that was decided on penalties.

The danger men for Celtic are Roberts and Sinclair, coming in on to their strong feet from wide positions. Their quality should be the difference.

The crowd will drag Celtic forward and Aberdeen will eventually tire, so I see them completing the historic season in fairly convincing fashion.

CHARLIE PREDICTS: 3-1 and Scott Sinclair to score first

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