Scott Sinclair savoured his best feeling in football after helping Celtic to the treble.
The former Chelsea, Swansea, Manchester City and Aston Villa winger put the cap on a memorable first campaign at Parkhead by collecting a William Hill Scottish Cup winners’ medal.
Celtic’s 2-1 victory over Aberdeen at Hampden made it 47 domestic games unbeaten this season and clinched the fourth treble in the club’s history, with Brendan Rodgers joining Jock Stein and Martin O’Neill as the only managers to win all three major honours in a season.
Sinclair has contributed 25 goals and claimed player of the year awards from his team-mates, the Celtic fans, his fellow professionals and the Scottish football writers.
“It’s worked out better than I expected,” he said. “For me it was to come up here to be happy, playing every week under a manager that believes in me and get my football back on track, which I have. And it’s been unbelievable, especially being at a club like Celtic, playing games and setting some history.
“Right now this is the best in my career, the most enjoyable. Being at a club like Celtic, it’s such a big club. Being under the manager and especially the fans, I’m so happy we could give back to the fans. They travel week in, week out, cheering everybody’s name and they get right behind us.”
The triumph came at the end of a week of serious nostalgia for Celtic supporters, with a number of events and widespread media coverage marking the 50th anniversary of their European Cup win.
But Sinclair feels inspiration has not been in short supply all season.
“We have just been inspired throughout the whole season, especially from the manager,” he said. “All the boys have stuck together and worked so hard in training and it has all paid off. We have taken every game as it comes and this was the last game of the season, and we were exceptional throughout.”
Sinclair could have had a hat-trick at Hampden but was unable to convert some excellent chances, but all that was forgotten when Tom Rogic drifted past two Aberdeen players and slotted home at the near post in injury-time.
“When you play a cup final you need to put them away, but to be honest I am not too fussed right now,” Sinclair said. “It happens, but we are champions and I can just go on holiday and enjoy.”
Aberdeen gave Celtic arguably their toughest test of the domestic campaign and edged the first half as they pressed their opponents all over the pitch.
But they could only hold on for two minutes after Jonny Hayes volleyed home from a ninth-minute corner, with Stuart Armstrong only needing a few yards of space to fire home from 20 yards.
Both sides created chances after the break, but Celtic grew more dominant as the game progressed and defender Dedryck Boyata was delighted to be able to deliver the treble and the unbeaten season that had been in everyone’s thoughts for months.
“It was hard for us when people were talking about these kind of goals but we just kept on a tried to win game after game and be in this position right now,” said Boyata. “We worked very hard and it’s just unbelievable.
“It’s going to be hard to do exactly the same next season but it’s going to be our aim as well to just keep on going, work hard and try to win every game.”