BRENDAN RODGERS is convinced Celtic won’t falter in their next four crucial Premiership games before the turn of the year.
And the Hoops boss insists his players will return from their winter break in Dubai reinvigorated and right up for the tests that lie ahead on the domestic and European fronts.
Rodgers, who has seen his side drop 15 points this season, is preparing for tonight’s encounter against Motherwell at Parkhead which will be followed by the visit of Dundee, thrashed 5-1 by Aberdeen last night, at the weekend.
The champions then take on the Dons at Pittodrie on Boxing Day before bringing down the curtain on 2018 with a visit to Ibrox.
Rodgers admitted: “It’s an important 13 days for us now. We’ll get a break after that which the players clearly need.
“We’ll be at the top or somewhere about it by the turn of the year. We know we’ll get stronger. We know we’ll get better.
“We’ll push on into the second half of the season really motivated.
“We’re getting towards the end of the year and we’ve had another great year.
TREBLE YELL…Brendan Rodgers with the clean sweep of silverware – for the second successive season.
“We’ve won a Cup already, are into the last 32 of the Europa League and in the league everything is in our hands.
“So I can’t really complain. We want to be better, of course. We CAN be better.
“But we now need to go into our next two home games, starting with Motherwell, looking to get maximum points.”
Asked if he was feeling the pressure, Rodgers replied: “Not really, no. You look at the league and you see it’s tight which I’ve always said is good.
“We always look at our own game because what Rangers do, or Kilmarnock or any of the teams do, is irrelevant to us.
“We have to do our own job and play to our own standards.
“Of course, when there’s competition there that’s good for you.
“It’s tighter this year, but, like I say, we’re in a very good position and if we can take that into the second part of the season I’ll be very happy.”
Celtic lost their third league game of the campaign when they went down 2-0 to Hibs at Easter Road on Sunday. They had already sampled defeat against Hearts and Kilmarnock as they chase their eighth successive crown.
Tonight’s opponents are one of three teams to have drawn with the Parkhead men, snatching a late leveller at Fir Park earlier this month. Rodgers had already seem his team drop points on their travels at St Mirren and Livingston.
Victory tonight against Stephen Robinson’s stuffy side is a must.
* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from this evening’s Celtic v Motherwell game at Parkhead – only in your champion CQN.