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ROGIC MAGIC – AND THE INVINCIBLES’ HISTORIC TREBLE

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CELTIC are a mere 90 minutes away from everlasting glory as they prepare for the delayed Scottish Cup Final against Hearts at Hampden on Sunday.

It has been an extraordinary journey for the proud Parkhead club to reach this stage, standing on the brink of immortality.

Author Alex Gordon looks back at an eventful afternoon at the national stadium in 2017 in his latest Celtic book, ’50 Flags Plus One’ , to recall that breathtaking occasion.

Alex, veteran of fifteen Celtic books, writes: Celtic would bring down the season on a momentous season with a Scottish Cup Final meeting with Aberdeen at Hampden on May 27.

Brendan Rodgers was standing drenched on the Hampden touchline while his all-conquering players cavorted on the pitch behind him to the strains of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. A goal deep in stoppage time by Tom Rogic had just beaten Aberdeen to give Celtic the Scottish Cup to complete the historic treble.

READ ALL ABOUT IT…Alex Gordon’s latest Celtic book, ’50 Flags Plus One’.

Rodgers, in his first season, had led the club to an unprecedented forty-seven game unbeaten sequence against Scottish opposition – something never achieved by any team before his Invincibles.

The TV interviewer stated: “This club have fallen in love with you and you have fallen in love with this club.” Rodgers practically snapped: “No! I was born into Celtic. I was born into a Celtic family. There’s been no growing into this club. There has only been pride and it’s a huge privilege to manage Celtic. I have always wanted to manage Celtic. I’m here now and I just think it is the right time for everyone, myself and the club.”

As the rain still swirled around the national stadium, Rodgers added: “We’ve created an identity this season and, hopefully, we can build on that and improve over the coming years. What we have achieved has been really spectacular.” Rodgers also described the “special feeling” of emulating Jock Stein and Martin O’Neill after leading Celtic to the fourth treble in their history.

“Maybe the stars were aligned this year,” he smiled. “I remember the centenary year for Celtic and there’s just a feeling about this season. But don’t get me wrong, we’ve had to earn it. We’ve worked hard. It’s a huge honour. I think what the players have achieved and you see how difficult it is, the great history of this club and the great managers and players who have been here before me.

“To have achieved that in the first season, along with everything else that we’ve done is very humbling. I still get a wee bit of a funny feeling, it doesn’t sit quite right with me. Jock was a real pioneer in leading the club where they wanted to go. Martin did an incredible job here.”

A dramatic 2016/17 campaign was edging to a shuddering climax with Celtic and Aberdeen locked at 1-1 in the Scottish Cup Final on a day of crazy changeable weather conditions in Mount Florida on the Saturday afternoon of May 27, 2017. The champions had been rocked when the Pittodrie outfit had taken the lead through an effort from Jonny Hayes, but, thankfully, Stuart Armstrong had the perfect response with the leveller just over a minute later, a low left-foot drive from the edge of the box that whipped beyond the diving Joe Lewis.

Two minutes into stoppage time, the scoreline hadn’t changed – until a moment of magic from the man known as the Wizard of Oz, Tom Rogic. No danger threatened as he picked up a pass from Stuart Armstrong and ambled forward. There was a spurt of acceleration to leave Anthony O’Connor in his slipstream. Menacingly, Rogic carried into the penalty area, a shimmy one way and then another bamboozled Andy Considine before the Aussie playmaker spotted a space between the keeper and his near post. With a nonchalant sweep of his right foot he tucked the ball sweetly into the net.

Just over a minute later, referee Bobby Madden blew his whistle for time-up and the Scottish Cup was on its way to the east end of Glasgow to keep the Premiership and the League Cup company in the Celtic Park trophy cabinet.

Author Alex Gordon’s latest Celtic book, ’50 Flags Plus One’, has just been published and is only on sale at CQN Bookstore before it is open to the general public next year.

It’s up for grabs at £20 and Alex has agreed to sign it with any message you may believe is appropriate at this special time of the year.

PLUS! We are giving away FREE a copy of ‘SEVILLE: The Celtic Movement’, priced at £18.99, with every copy of , ’50 Flags Plus One’.

READ ALL ABOUT IT…Alex Gordon’s latest Celtic book, ’50 Flags Plus One’.

It’s a fabulous double Christmas treat for the Celtic support.

Please hurry – the offer is limited to while stocks last and they are going fast.

’50 Flags Plus One’ is the unique collection of tales behind the fifty-one title triumphs in Celtic’s glorious history.

Alex, a veteran of fifteen Celtic books and a former Sports Editor at the best-selling Sunday Mail, recalls the inside stories on many of these momentous occasions.

* BEHIND THE SCENES: The countdown to Brendan Rodgers quitting Celtic.

* REVEALED! The half-time pep talk by Jock Stein against Rangers that sparked the first nine-in-a-row title sequence.

* FROM the dole to title delight – how things changed so dramatically and gloriously for a Celtic legend in the club’s Centenary Year.

* DAVIE HAY reveals how Hearts HELPED Celtic to overcome the Edinburgh team in the dramatic race for the 1986 title.

* THE day Neil Lennon threatened to quit in his first spell as Celtic manager.

* THE History Bhoys – the day Celtic won TWO games in the same day to claim their thirteenth title.

* FIFTY-GOAL Jimmy McGrory ends a decade in the doldrums with eighteenth flag in 1936.

* THE Jimmy Johnstone Show – Celtic icons remember the day Wee Jinky ran amok at Ibrox. And the team won their second successive title in the nine-in-a-row glory days.

* JOCK STEIN’S heartfelt salute to Celtic greats after the Lions’ Last Hurrah with title victory in 1971.

* BIG Jock’s tenth championship – the legend goes out with another remarkable title triumph in 1977. The legend talks about dealing with tension in a thrilling campaign that was capped with a Scottish Cup victory over Rangers. Discover what Kenny Dalglish did to bewilder the Celtic manager.

*CELTIC are a fairy-tale football club,’ insisted Billy McNeill on his return to Parkhead as manager. And his first-season success with the championship – and the transfers that made it happen.

* THE night ten men won the league. Why Billy McNeill threatened to throw red-card culprit Johnny Doyle ONTO the field.

Read the fascinating revelations in ’50 Flags Plus One’, the brand new Celtic book, which is only available at CQN Bookstore – and get ‘SEVILLE: The Celtic Movement’, rrp £18.99,  absolutely free.

* ‘CELTIC: 50 Flags Plus One’ celebrates the club’s remarkable fifty-one league championships in their glorious history. To order a copy – and get a FREE book, ‘Seville: The Celtic Movement’ – please go to: ‘CELTIC: 50 Flags Plus One’.

* PLEASE note that CQN will be processing orders as swiftly as possible to make certain the books are with you as soon as possible. The Post Office has stressed the importance of having the books processed early and to allow three working days for the books to be shipped. Hail! Hail!

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