CELTIC took their place in Football’s Hall of Fame as the only club in the world to claim a phenomenal EIGHT trebles, a feat they achieved so memorably at the crescendo of the rollicking, non-stop campaign of 2022/23.
It was a crusade packed with intriguing twists and turns which didn’t end when the last ball had been kicked in stoppage time of the 3-1 Scottish Cup Final triumph over Championship side Inverness Caley Thistle at Hampden on the sun-kissed evening of Saturday June 3.
Ange Postecoglou took his team into the last-day confrontation against Billy Dodds’ gallant Highlanders with the Premiership title already won for the second successive term almost a month earlier at Tynecastle.
That joined the League Cup which had been retained on February 26 after a dramatic Glasgow derby against Michael Beale’s Ibrox side.
Author Alex Gordon researched each and every one of the Parkhead club’s first FIFTY-ONE untainted championship triumphs in his fifteenth Celtic book, ‘50 Flags Plus One‘.
In CQN’S EXCLUSIVE series, Alex has already detailed the first seven championship successes on a daily basis and now the former national newspaper sports editor turns the spotlight on the most recent silverware adventure that shattered all records.
There were exactly two minutes and 33 seconds on the clock when the champions scored their first goal of the new Premiership campaign on July 31 2022.
THE FINAL BOW…the Celtic players in their traditional huddle at Hampden before the Scottish Cup showpiece against Inverness Caley Thistle.
The scoring for the season was completed a minute into stoppage-time 11 months later at the national stadium. In between those strikes, Celtic were on their way into the annals of fame.
Centre-back Stephen Welsh got the ball rolling in the east end of Glasgow when he rose superbly to head-flick a right-wing corner-kick from Matt O’Riley beyond stranded Aberdeen keeper Kelle Roos for the opener at a packed and pulsating Parkhead, the fans full of expectation and anticipation for what lay ahead.
GRINNING AND WINNING…Filipe Jota is all smiles as he holds the Scottish Cup.
Filipe Jota, full of flicks and tricks, sealed the first three points of the term when he went through his full repertoire as he bamboozled the Dons defence before thundering an unstoppable drive high into the net.
Fittingly, it was the little Portuguese maverick who claimed the final goal of the epic journey when he popped up at the back post in the fading moments of the showpiece showdown at Hampden against Caley Thistle.
The Hoops were leading 2-1 with typical efforts from Kyogo Furuhashi, claiming his 34th goal of a prolific season, and Liel Abada when the Israeli winger curled over an excellent cross from the right.
Jota read the flight of the arcing pass perfectly, took the ball on his chest and then drilled a right-foot drive past the helpless Mark Ridgers. At that precise moment, Celtic became the first club on the planet to lay claim to trebles in eight crusades.
HAMPDEN HOORAYS…Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates with Greg Taylor after hitting the first of his double in the League Cup Final.
The League Cup was the first piece of silverware heading for the Parkhead trophy cabinet and, as ever, master marksman Kyogo played a massive role in the club’s 53rd championship triumph.
The lightning-swift Japanese international, bought for a bargain £4.6million from J-League side Vissel Kobe in July 2021, littered his odyssey with crucial goals in vital games.
Kyogo’s predatory instincts earned the Hoops a late 2-2 draw at Ibrox on January 2 when a win for the opposition would have undoubtedly given them energy and oxygen for the months ahead.
And it was the pacy attack-leader who fired in two goals behind Allan McGregor to give Celtic a 3-2 triumph over their Glasgow rivals on April 8 to stretch the title kings’ lead at the top to a near-unassailable 12 points with seven games to play.
The Govan players must have been sick of the sight of Kyogo and it was the ever-smiling assassin who shot them down in the League Cup Final in February.
CROWNING GLORY…Kyogo Furuhashi fires in the opening goal against Hearts on Celtic’s way to a 2-0 win at Tynecastle to seal their 53rd title.
He stuck a double into their net, a goal in each half, as the Hoops won 2-1 and held onto the trophy they had won – Postecoglou’s first on these shores – in December 2021 when another two-goal salvo from the 28-year-old hitman earned the Hoops a 2-1 victory over Hibs.
It was no surprise to anyone when Kyogo claimed the barrier-breaking goal against Hearts in Edinburgh on May 7 to propel the Celts towards a 2-0 success – and yet another crown.
With 22 minutes to go at Tynecastle, the game was still stalemated and the outcome balanced on a knife-edge. With his customary impeccable timing, Callum McGregor, the valiant onfield leader who hardly put a foot wrong through the year, delivered a crisp low pass to Reo Hatate on the right.
Without even a glance up, the astute midfielder whipped a cross to the near post and his compatriot Kyogo swept in to nudge the ball wide of the sprawling Zander Clark.
ONE…Kyogo Furuhashi leaves Caley Thistle keeper Mark Ridgers helpless as he opens the scoring in the Scottish Cup Final.
TWO…Liel Abada doubles the advantage as he knocks in a pass from skipper Callum McGregor (extreme right).
THREE…Filipe Jota brings the curtain down on a world-beating season with the third goal against Caley Thistle in the 3-1 Scottish Cup Final triumph.
It was the striker’s 50th goal since his arrival on these shores and it was the one that put the champions firmly on track for another flag celebration.
South Korean international Oh Hyeon-gyu, a £2.5million recruit in January, diverted in a second and it was party time once again in the east end of Glasgow.
Now we can all dream of One over the Eight!