Rodgers targets substantial lead at summit by end of year

first_img Rodgers said: “I said to the players a numbers of weeks ago about the three targets by December 30. “If we can win the League Cup, qualify for the Europa League and have double-figure advantage by the time we arrive into the winter break then we will have a brilliant season. “OK, if we don’t have the double figures, as long as we have that gap then that will represent an outstanding start for the players through qualification for Europa League and winning the League Cup. “That would be a great, great end to the year for us.” Brendan Rodgers has set Celtic’s players the target of establishing a double-figures points lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership by the end of the year.The Hoops boss tasked his squad with three goals earlier in the season, two of which have already been achieved after Celtic overcame Motherwell in the League Cup final and pipped Anderlecht to third in their Champions League group.Celtic recovered from defeat to Hearts at the weekend to beat Partick Thistle 2-0 on Wednesday, extending their lead at the top to five points. A trip to Dundee is sandwiched in between home ties with Aberdeen and Rangers before 2017 comes to a close. Aberdeen visit Celtic Park on Saturday, with the Dons rejuvenated following Derek McInnes’ decision to reject an approach from rivals Rangers.Asked if he was surprised McInnes had turned down the chance to go join his boyhood heroes, Rodgers said: “I suppose everyone was expecting him to go because of his allegiances there, having been a player and obviously a club he supported. “But as a manager you also have to have a strategy, it can’t be always with the heart. “You have to think things through and obviously have to speak to people and find out what the strategy is and if everything is aligned within that before you make a decision.”He added: “Football management, as you can see now, is a precarious business and what is important is that you go into a club that has stability. “I was very, very fortunate to come to Celtic. I have an incredible board here, a real high level of intellect within Celtic and everything is aligned, from strategy to interest. “Obviously you need to find it out if it is aligned or not and if it is, then of course it gives you a great base to build from.”Rodgers said he admired the job McInnes has done at Aberdeen in his tenure so far.He said: “I don’t know what Derek’s situation was, without speaking to him. “But he obviously felt at this point in his career that the best chance for him, for that stability and with everything aligned, was to stay at Aberdeen.“He is a good guy, he clearly wants the team to be better and wants to improve the club. I think the job he has done in the four and a bit years he has been there has proven that. I have a big admiration for him.”last_img read more