There’s a difficult internal balance that Brendan Rodgers must now be striving to strike.
How does Celtic’s manager maintain his motivation to obliterate all that Scottish football can muster, while putting his own international reputation on the line every time he digs out his passport?
Because for every domestic trophy he secures during his time in charge of Celtic – and with every record he smashes – there’s a snide remark waiting for him back over the border, where they just can’t seem to bring themselves to take his work here seriously. It’s the Liverpool legacy that he just can’t shake.
This sense that he must forever be regarded as damaged goods down south because he once failed to take the title to Anfield. That he came closer than anyone else this side of the millennium to actually do so is, of course, neither here nor there.
That he has rattled off 65 games without defeat in Scottish football, scooping up four major trophies on the spin? Well that’s just a damning indictment of the state of the rest of our game.
It’s a twisted kind of logic which dictates that, the longer this remarkable run stretches, the more his critics claim vindication. The less credit they are willing to give him for it. And it’s led Rodgers to arrive at a simple solution. He does his best not to listen to it.
When asked if he is irritated by…