BRENDAN RODGERS will be hoping history repeats itself when Celtic take on Hearts at Tynecastle this afternoon.
The Hoops kicked off their remarkable surge to five successive championship crowns in Edinburgh when they beat Hibs 2-0 at Easter Road on Sunday, July 24 at the start of the 2011/12 campaign.
Since that fateful afternoon, the Parkhead side have been handing out capital punishment to their league rivals and, coincidentally, they achieved their fifth flag on the trot at Tynecastle last season when they overcame Robbie Neilson’s side 3-1 on April 30.
Amazingly, only THREE Celtic players remain from the 14 used in the team to get the ball rolling.
Kris Commons, Emilio Izaguirre and James Forrest are the survivors from the line-up that beat Hibs, then managed by Colin Calderwood.
Neil Lennon, ironically now boss of the Leith outfit, was the manager who set in motion Celtic’s quintet of success. The Irishman was in charge for the first three triumphs before Norwegian Ronny Deila took over to lead the team to the next two victories.
Now former Liverpool gaffer Rodgers is the man at the helm to maintain the championship push towards number six.
Here are the players who were triumphant in Edinburgh to propel the Glasgow giants towards their uninterrupted five-year run of glory.
LUKASZ ZALUSKA: The keeper, now 34, was signed from Dundee United on a Bosman deal as back-up to his fellow-Pole Artur Boruc in 2009. He failed to establish himself in the first team and was also stand-by for Fraser Forster and then Craig Gordon. He was released two seasons ago and joined Bundesliga side SV Darmstadt 98. He returned to Poland last month to join Wisla Krakow.
MARK WILSON: Signed from Dundee United for £500,000 in 2006, the right-back captained Celtic against Hibs in the absence of the suspended Scott Brown. He won a league medal in his final season at the club. After a spell at Bristol City, he returned to Tannadice. The 32-year-old former international played 10 games for Dumbarton before being released last summer.
KELVIN WILSON: Lennon brought his former Nottingham Forest team-mate to Parkhead on a Bosman in the summer of 2011 and the centre-half, now 30, made his first appearance at Easter Road. He spent two years at the Hoops before returning to the City Ground in a £2.5million deal. He was released in the summer and has just agreed a one-year deal with Alan Stubbs at Rotherham.
GLENN LOOVENS: The Dutch central defender, signed from Cardiff City for £2.1million in August 2008, was also on the way out at the end of the championship-winning campaign. He spent a season with Spanish outfit Real Zaragoza and the 32-year-old is now captain of Sheffield Wednesday in the English Championship.
EMILIO IZAGUIRRE: The 30-year-old Honduran international defender, signed from Motagua for around £1million in 2010, lost his left-back place to Kieran Tierney last season. He looked to be on his way in the summer, but returned and still has a year remaining on his contract.
BERAM KAYAL: The Israeli midfielder cost around £1.5million when he joined from Maccabi Hafia in 2010. An ankle injury kept him out for four months and he faded from the first team picture when Deila replaced Lennon. The 28-year-old is now a key man at Brighton as they prepare for another push for Premier League promotion after just missing out last term.
JOE LEDLEY: The Welsh international arrived on a Bosman from Cardiff City in 2010 and became a favourite with the Hoops faithful. The 29-year-old playmaker was sold for £800,000 to Crystal Palace in January 2014 when he only had five months left on his contract. The midfielder figured in Wales’ excellent performances in the Euro Finals in France.
KI SUNG-YEUNG: The South Korean midfield man, signed from FC Seoul for ££2.1million in 2009, scored seven times for the title-winners and claimed the second goal against Hibs in the 63rd minute. The 27-year-old moved to Premier League side Swansea City in 2012 for £6million and had a loan spell at Sunderland before returning to the Welsh outfit.
KRIS COMMONS: The 32-year-old dynamo, who missed a penalty-kick against Hibs, has yet to figure under Rodgers following surgery during the pre-season. The former Scotland international arrived for a bargain £300,000 from Derby County in 2011 and still has a year to run on his current contract.
ANTHONY STOKES: The Republic of Ireland international, who arrived in a £1.2million deal from Hibs in August 2010, grabbed the 14th-minute opener against his old club, where, ironically, he finished last season on loan and scored twice in the Easter Road side’s historic 3-2 over Rangers in the Scottish Cup Final. The 28-year-old was allowed to quit his boyhood heroes when Rodgers decided not to take up the option of another 12 months on his contract. He agreed a three-year deal with Blackburn in the summer.
GARY HOOPER: The striker was an inspired £2.4million signing by Lennon from Scunthorpe in July 2010. The Englishman scored 63 goals in 95 league games before Norwich City paid £5million to take him to Carrow Road in July 2013..The goals dried up in East Anglia and the 28-year-old is now a team-mate of Loovens at Hillsborough following his £2.4million move during the January transfer window.
JAMES FORREST: The winger replaced Commons on the hour mark. The Scotland international, now 25, made his breakthrough in 2010, but has failed to establish himself after an unfortunate run of injuries. Knocked back the offer of a contract extension last season and could yet be on the move.
GEORGIOS SAMARAS: Came on as a 79th-minute substitute for Stokes. Gordon Strachan signed him for £2.5million from Manchester City in 2008 after the Greek international impressed during his initial loan period. The 31-year-old attacker left in 2014 at the end of his contract and signed for West Brom. He is now with little-known American outfit Rayo OKC.
SHAUN MALONEY: Had only four minutes on the pitch after replacing Hooper. The 33-year-old was in his second spell at Parkhead after starting out in 2000 under Martin O’Neill and then rejoining the Irishman at Aston Villa for £1million in 2007. He returned to the Hoops a year later for £3million. He left in August 31, 2011 in an £850,000 deal for Wigan and is now with Hull City after a spell in the States with Chicago Fire.
The unused substitutes were goalkeeper Dominic Cervi, right-back Adam Matthews, versatile Charlie Mulgrew, and midfielder Victor Wanyama and they, too, have left the club.