SEVEN games away from the first unbeaten domestic Scottish season since 1899 and closing in on only the fourth treble in the club's history, Brendan Rodgers has surpassed everybody's expectations this season. Everybody's apart from his own, that is. And those of Craig Beattie, the former Celtic striker who worked with the meticulous Northern Irishman during a successful stint at Swansea City.
Beattie, now helping Edinburgh City fight against the drop back into the Lowland League, confidently predicted in these pages last June that something along these lines would come to pass as soon as his former mentor arrived in Scotland.
He feels Rodgers himself would have imagined nothing less and fully expects his former club to continue their outright domestic dominance to complete a historic unbeaten season and rack up the club's first treble since 2001. Even then, it would still only be par for the course for a man who Beattie feels plans to use his time north of the border putting his name next to every record Scottish football has going.
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"Don't say I didn't warn you because this is exactly how I envisaged it going," Beattie told Herald Sport. "And I am sure as far as Brendan's expectations are going, he is probably just meeting the ones he has set himself, and not over-achieving either.
"You have got to back them to go on and complete both the treble and the unbeaten season," added the 33-year-old, who came back to haunt his former team in 2012 with a famous stoppage time Scottish Cup semi-final penalty in Hearts colours. "They do look unstoppable at the minute. Obviously in one-off games anything can happen, we know that, form and stuff goes out the window to a degree, but they have been so dominant that is hard to sit here and predict that anything else will happen other than Celtic wins."
Rangers, and Pedro Caixinha, will have other ideas on Sunday, of course. Aside from being dismantled 5-1 back in September, they have succeeded in keeping their Old Firm rivals honest in the three other meetings, culminating in a 1-1 draw at Celtic Park last month. The arrival of the Portuguese adds an extra element of intrigue but Beattie feels Rodgers will already have his side well warned. While the Parkhead side haven't been firing on all cylinders since clinching the title, Rodgers has used the period to rest his players and they can be expected to be back at full gas come Sunday.
"The most one-sided game might have been the second match, the 1-0, and there is a gap there, there's no doubt about that," said Beattie. "It will be interesting how Pedro Caixinha does, because this is his first big test. But I am sure Brendan will be relaying that to the Celtic players. Making sure they know Rangers will have a new energy about them, now they are playing for a new manager and one who will be there for the foreseeable future."
The really bad news for Rangers, and the rest, is the fact that the same too seems to apply to Rodgers. The Northern Irishman recently signed a new four-year deal at the club, and while it remains to be seen whether a bigger fish comes along, for now it seems entirely plausible that the 44-year-old from Carnlough could hang around to see it out.
"You don't want to get carried away but the next focus for him is ten-in-a-row," said Beattie. "He has just signed a new four-year deal, and you do the maths. The guy just wants to break every record possible. If an opportunity arises in the meantime to take him away from the club then that would be Celtic's misfortune but from the outside looking in to me he just wants to be as successful and ruthless as he possibly can. He want to put his name and the club's name next to every record that he can possibly touch.
"It is every single training session," the 31-year-old added. "He won't have players involved with the team who aren't training at 100% and able to push the boys who are already in the team. Making a mark on Europe is another target for him, even getting out of the group stages, but it is stating the obvious to say that is the hardest task for a club like Celtic. But I said at the time that he is so good that he could end up at one of the really big jobs in Europe, a Barcelona or Real Madrid."
Rodgers, of course, isn't the only Swansea old boy currently making waves in the East End of Glasgow. Beattie is equally delighted to see his old team-mate Scott Sinclair, three goals clear as top scorer in the Labrokes Premiership, hitting the ground running in Scottish football. For all the other contenders, mainly wearing Celtic colours, he feels that Sinclair is the outstanding candidate for player of the year.
"I know Scott really well and how well he is doing doesn't surprise me," said Beattie. "I played with him at Swansea and then he moved on to Manchester City, which was a move he just couldn't knock back. Everybody knows that if you go there you could become a superstar, but unfortunately that didn't quite materialise and he has had a few moves since then which probably didn't work out the way he wanted them to. But now he is in Glasgow and he is happy. The way he is playing tells you everything you need to know.
"It is easy to discredit the boy because he didn't play X amount of games at Man City but you were talking world superstars like Robinho when he was there," he added. "What he is doing right now is playing the games, scoring the goals, playing with a smile on his face. It is an absolute pleasure to watch him. He is top, top professional and a really good lad.
"[Stuart] Armstrong has had a good season, Broony [Scott Brown] has had another good season and [Moussa] Dembele is scoring all the goals but I think the impact Sinclair has had and what he is bringing to the team just makes him a little bit different. He pins defenders and makes back lines drop into their own box, which gets Dembele and other boys closer to the box. When you sit down and analyse it, there is only one player of the year and for me it is has to be Scott."
Along with luminaries such as Derek Riordan and former Aberdeen midfielder Josh Walker, Beattie is closing in on another success story in his own right with Edinburgh City. In their first season up in the Lowland League, a last minute goal from Ryan Porteous saw Gary Jardine's side climb to seventh in League Two, albeit with only a four-point cushion on bottom side Cowdenbeath as they endeavour to avoid the potential drop back out of the leagues. "To have a squad of semi pros, or amateurs, lads who have never really played senior football, and for them to have a chance to stay in the league is incredible, especially after the start we had, four points after 11 matches," he said. "Nothing is done yet but there are three games remaining and we are in a great position. It has been absolutely amazing to be part of it."