ACHIEVING a level of success in continental competition will always be of great importance to a club which will this season celebrate the 50th anniversary of their famous European Cup triumph over Inter Milan.

That is not, though, to say that performing well on the home front, even in the lesser of the three tournaments in which they compete domestically, is of little or no significance to Celtic.

Brendan Rodgers may well have justified the £2.4 million annual salary which he is reputedly receiving by securing qualification for the group stages of the Champions League for the first time in three years back in August.

The considerable sums of money the Parkhead club have banked from their involvement in Group C alongside Barcelona, Manchester City and Borussia Moenchengladbach has comfortably covered his wages and much more besides.

Nevertheless, victory over Aberdeen in the Betfred Cup final at Hampden Park tomorrow afternoon, remains necessary for the Irishman.

The fact that Celtic will lift the 100th piece of silverware in their 128-year history should they prevail this weekend underlines that total dominance in Scotland, not just excellence in Europe, is expected of him.

Slip up and lose tomorrow, as Celtic have done in three of their last four visits to Hampden, and supporters will not be slow in voicing their displeasure regardless of their high regard of Rodgers. The demands on the man in charge at Parkhead are relentless.

Their opponents tomorrow will not have the glamour or the quality of the Barcelona team they faced in their penultimate Champions League group match in Glasgow on Wednesday evening. What side in the world does?

But that is not to say the first leg of a potential treble will be straightforward for them to complete. Far from it. Aberdeen remain, despite the return of Rangers to the top flight this year after a four year absence this year, comfortably the second best team in the country. They will be worthy adversaries and it should be an entertaining encounter.

Derek McInnes, the Pittodrie club’s manager, has a deep-rooted belief that his men can overcome rivals with a much larger fan base and far greater resources.

It is worth noting that McInnes has, unlike Rodgers, won a major trophy a manager. He led Aberdeen to their first success in 19 years back in 2014 when they overcame Inverness Caledonian Thistle on penalties after the game had finished 0-0 after extra-time.

That is, of course, all relative. The Scot has not, like his counterpart, been operating at the highest level in the English Premier League in the past with Swansea City and Liverpool. Still, that experience should prove invaluable to both him and those players who were involved.

If anything, Aberdeen are a better side now than when they won two years ago. Joe Lewis has done well in goals since arriving in the summer, centre half Anthony O’Connor has shored up an often porous defence considerably and James Maddison has been nothing short of a revelation up front since joining on loan from Norwich City. They have height, pace, invention, experience and goals in their ranks.

McInnes is certainly ambitious. “I want to leave here on the back of a successful era, not just talking about a League Cup that we won in 2014,” he said this week. "I want to say that same message to my players as well. I want them to leave on the back of being international players here and winning trophies here.”

Aberdeen may also be getting Celtic at a good time. The favourites could be tired both physically and mentally after their energy-sapping brush with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez in midweek and might also be missing Sinclair, who limped off at half-time in that intense outing, due to injury.

Kieran Tierney also continues to be a major loss for their opponents. Emilio Izaguirre is a decent replacement at left back, but offers less going forward and is not as dependable at the back as his young team mate and has had minimal game time in the last couple of seasons. You would imagine that Jonny Hayes will be looking forward to that particular duel.

Is their pressure on McInnes to deliver? Most definitely. The Aberdeen supporters understand the highs of the Sir Alex Ferguson days will never be revisited. But they are still entitled to see tangible rewards for their efforts given the size of their budget. Failure would reflect badly on the man who occupies the dugout despite their remarkable consistency since he took over three years ago.

But it would be a major shock if Celtic suffered their first domestic defeat under Rodgers tomorrow. If Sinclair fails a late fitness test, and he is currently touch and go, his manager can still call on James Forrest, Callum McGregor or Patrick Roberts out wide. He has strength in depth to cope with any eventuality.

The 43—year-old has, the embarrassing 1-0 loss to part-time rivals Lincoln Red Imps in Gibraltar in his opening game and the crushing 7-0 defeat to Barcelona in the Nou Camp aside, enjoyed an exceptional start to his tenure. That should continue.

His side has, with his new signings Sinclair and Moussa Dembele very much to the fore, produced an exciting brand of attacking football which the Celtic supporters, many of whom had drifted away from Parkhead, have relished watching.

Up front, they have been devastating with Dembele, Leigh Griffiths, Tom Rogic and Sinclair all scoring regularly. In midfield, Scott Brown has been in the form of his life and Stuart Armstrong and Forrest have both rediscovered their best form. At the back, they have been reliable thanks to the performances of Craig Gordon, Mikael Lustig, Jozo Simunovic and Erik Sviatchenko. They enter this game on the back of seven clean sheets in domestic competition.

The Scottish champions are undefeated domestically – the only points they have dropped were in a 2-2 draw with Inverness Caledonian Thistle away in September when goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams enjoyed the game of his life – and are 10 points clear at the head of the Ladbrokes Premiership table.

It is still only November but Rodgers is already being widely tipped to emulate the achievements of Jock Stein in 1967 and 1969 and Martin O’Neill in 2001 and complete a clean sweep of domestic trophies. It is asking a lot of him and his players. But the prospect of them winning the League Cup, Scottish title and Scottish Cup has only been raised because of the high standard of their play.

Aberdeen have won just two of their last 10 meetings with Celtic. Both of those games came at Pittodrie last season when Ronny Deila was still in charge of the Glasgow club. This term they have been defeated 4-1 away and 1-0 at home.

It is very hard to see Celtic coming unstuck. If they perform to the best of their abilities and convert the chances then the first trophy of the Brendan Rodgers era should be claimed comfortably. But if they fail to do so and a decent Aberdeen side excel it could be interesting.