Gordon Strachan: Celtic retaining their treble would surpass Invincibles

Gordon Strachan believes Celtic can top last season's Invincibles clean sweep by retaining their treble.

The former Parkhead and Scotland boss reckons Brendan Rodgers' men had it all their own way last term as they won all three domestic trophies without losing a game.

It has not been quite so easy this time round, though.

Hearts ended their record-breaking 69-match unbeaten run with December's stunning 4-0 Tynecastle triumph.

Steve Clarke's rejuvenated Kilmarnock also upset the champions and Strachan says - on the whole - his old side have had much more to contend with this season especially with star frontmen Moussa Dembele and Leigh Griffiths both having struggled with injury.

And for that reason, the former Scotland boss believes this year's achievement would rank as a more impressive feat.

"It's been harder for Celtic this year," he said ahead of Sunday's William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final with Rangers.

"Neil Lennon's made Hibs a better side, Rangers are better this year and those two have made the league harder.

"Obviously you only need to look at Hearts too when they beat Celtic 4-0 under Craig Levein, so the standard of the teams have made life a bit harder for Celtic and have pushed them a bit more.

"They had so many players at top form last year but now you look at the big fella up front, Dembele, and Griff - they've both been injured at times this season.

"So putting that all together, it would be a fantastic achievement if Celtic get the treble again as they've definitely been put under more pressure this year."

As national team boss, Strachan enjoyed a close relationship with Parkhead captain Scott Brown.

The 32-year-old decided to stand down as Scotland skipper and retire from international action after Strachan was axed by Hampden chiefs in the wake of another failed World Cup qualifying campaign.

But he can continue bossing things for Celtic for as long as he wants, according to Strachan.

"Broony's great, he gives us a lot," he said. "Whatever you think about him, he's improved immensely.

"He adds so much to the game for we people who watch the game. There are not many people who can get tackled, have the ball booted off his head and then get up and celebrate.

"Then last week, somebody stands on him where he doesn't want to get stood on but he can still see the funny side.

"He gives us a lot and we should be happy that he is playing at a time when there's not too many big personalities - and he is a big personality.

"It's entirely up to him how long he plays on for. I've said to some players, 'when you're 29 and have a bad game, it's because you're bad. But when you're 30, it's because your legs are gone'.

"But that's not how it works. You can keep yourself going as long as you keep yourself fit.

"You can actually get fitter in your 30s, so the knowledge Scott has taken on board over the years, plus his fitness, will keep him going for a long time yet."

- Strachan was speaking at a William Hill media event. William Hill is the proud sponsor of the Scottish Cup.


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