Another season, another prospective Celtic treble on the horizon.

So used to this scenario have we become over recent years that it’s largely normalised when, in the context of history, it is anything but normal. If Ange Postecoglou’s side overcome Inverness Caledonian Thistle at Hampden in Saturday’s Scottish Cup final, they will complete a world record eighth domestic clean sweep.

Five of the current seven have come this century, and four of those in the last decade alone. The first two arrived pre-1970, and would not be repeated until 2001 with the arrival of Martin O’Neill. It was not until Brendan Rodgers swept into Celtic Park in 2016 that the idea that trebles need not be a once in a generation event went mainstream.

Back-to-back successes under his leadership was an unprecedented event at the time, and heralded a change in how success at Celtic was defined. Where winning it all was for so long just a dream scenario, suddenly it was expected.

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A third and four on the bounce followed with the aid of Neil Lennon after Rodgers jumped ship for Leicester City, putting paid to any notion that this level of dominance was down to one hugely influential manager. Postecoglou came mightily close last year, winning both the Premiership and League Cup before being narrowly bested by Rangers in an extra-time Scottish Cup semi-final rollercoaster.

It will take a monumental upset this weekend to prevent it being second time lucky for the 57-year-old.

Of the players who helped Rodgers to a first treble, only Callum McGregor and James Forrest remain. But what that sustained success did was set a bar for every team and player who followed, a demand to follow what had gone before.

Take Matt O’Riley, for example. The 22-year-old midfielder arrived in January 2021 from MK Dons, an EFL League One club with little in the way of major expectations around success, never mind winning every trophy available, every year.

And yet it took no time at all for him to grasp his new reality at Parkhead, that anything less is not up to scratch.

“I’m certainly aware of the demand,” O’Riley of the precedent set by the quadruple treble. “First and foremost, it comes from being expected to win every game and if you do win every game, you put yourself in a good position to do that.

“Taking that mindset into the week, training games, and taking it onto the pitch is the most important thing so that you are naturally in that habit of winning, and also expecting to win.

“It has definitely made me a better player. It makes you adapt to the pressure of football.

“For a young player, especially, this is a club with a lot of demands. Having the experience of being involved in this sort of environment so young is really important and can only really put you in a good place.”

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That they have progressed from two trebles in 30 years to potentially a fifth in six seasons underlines the scale of Celtic’s current dominance, that much is abundantly clear.

Its implications in the wider Scottish football context are less simple to untangle. What is obvious is Celtic operate on a financial plain that the vast majority of their domestic opponents cannot even begin to compete with. And given that Scotland’s improved standing in UEFA’s coefficient rankings has now catapulted them automatically into the lucrative Champions League group stage means it’s likely that gap will only continue to grow.

It's a trend which is emerging across Europe, with several prominent top-flight leagues now being dominated almost entirely by one team. Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich (albeit only just, this year) have a monopoly on the Ligue 1 and Bundesliga titles, while Manchester City are doing the Premier League’s selling point as supposedly the most competitive league in the world absolutely no favours these days.

The disparity in resources has always been more pronounced in Scotland, though, and it has not always translated into the level of superiority Celtic are now enjoying. It stands to reason that those four consecutive trebles changed the landscape drastically in terms of what can be achieved at Parkhead on an annual basis.

Celtic have not always maximised their financial advantages in this way, and even when their closest rivals in Rangers were removed from the equation for several years, that gave way to something more akin to stagnation than the relentlessly accelerating standards we are now seeing. How long it can be sustained for is another question, and football’s cyclical nature suggests that every golden era tapers off at some stage.

That’s not to say Celtic will one day return to the misery of the 1990s, those days can surely be considered banished forever, but achievements such as what Postecoglou and his team can deliver this weekend probably shouldn’t be taken for granted. The scale of the celebrations that followed an 11th Premiership title in 12 years at the weekend suggests nobody is getting blasé about Celtic’s current age of dominance.

The players certainly aren’t. A chance to, so early in his career, become a record-breaker with Celtic is dream stuff for O’Riley. But what he and his team-mates have been so good at under Postecoglou’s leadership is casting thoughts of legacies and history to the side and simply training their focus on the next 90 minutes.

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Prevail at the national stadium in a few days’ time, though, and they might just be entitled to a moment of pause and reflection.

“It’s definitely exciting,” said O’Riley. “But in the end it comes down to us performing well for 90 minutes on the pitch, potentially 120 if it goes to extra time.

“It’s definitely a process, but if we’re able to do it, of course it’ll be amazing. It comes down to performing well individually and as a team, and by doing that you put yourself in a position to write history and win trophies.

“You can’t think too far ahead about your legacy at the club, it’s probably not the best way to look at it. It’s more of an every day process of trying to improve as a footballer, first and foremost.

“That gives you the best chance to put yourself in a position to do that.”