As reported by The Evening Times, Brendan Rodgers has challenged his players to open up a double-figure points gap at the top of the Scottish Premiership by the end of December.
Despite already dropping more points this season already than the entirety of last term, the Hoops still hold a commanding five point lead over closest challengers Aberdeen at the top of the table heading into a critical three match period.
Rodgers has revealed that he set his players a challenge a few weeks ago and with two of them met, all that remains is for Celtic to beat their immediate rivals before the end of December.
As quoted by The Evening Times, Rodgers said:
I said to the players a numbers of weeks ago about the three targets by the 30th of December. If we can win the League Cup, qualify for the Europa League and have double-figure advantage by the time we arrive into the winter break then we will have a brilliant season. Okay, if we don’t have the double figures, as long as we have that gap then that will represent an outstanding start for the players through qualification for Europa League and winning the League Cup. That would be a great, great end to the year for us.
Double figures is certainly still achievable over a busy festive period, but as long the Hoops beat both Aberdeen and Rangers in upcoming matches, Celtic fans will likely be happy.
Facing the Dons at home on Saturday, Dundee at Dens Park next mid-week and then Rangers at home on the 30th December, the next ten days hold the key to Celtic’s entire season.
Win those three matches and the Hoops are guaranteed to be at least eight points ahead of the rest heading into the winter break.
Rodgers’ side will never be more vulnerable this season than they are right now, having played so many matches since July and having a busier December schedule than any other side.
Taking at least an eight point lead into the new year will give them breathing room and maintaining that gap into February would allow them to focus on their Europa League knockout tie against FC Zenit knowing that domestic action has been taken care of.
If they are being closely chased by that point, it makes everything harder and more pressurised. The upcoming three matches are simply a must-win run of fixtures.