BRENDAN Rodgers has declared 2017 to have been the best year of his managerial career, and it's hard to argue. After all, over the last 12 months he saw his Celtic side secure a domestic treble while extend a record-breaking unbeaten domestic run to a staggering 69 games. Given that haul, it's perhaps not a surprise.

Yet, in what is the season of giving, it's planting smiles on the Celtic masses that has Rodgers most content going into what he hopes will be a prosperous 2018. In particular, a certain OAP who has taken the Northern Irishman and his players to heart.

“This has been the best. I had some brilliant moments," reflected the Celtic manager, who is set to take his side to Dubai in the coming days to recharge the batteries. “I think of the half year I had at Watford when they thought we were down for relegation then we transformed the way they played.

“My biggest pleasure is seeing the happiness in people. People will talk at New Year about the big moments. I have two things that spring to mind. One is seeing the happiness of the people when we’ve played well and won.

“But the biggest is probably an old lady Patsy, who is in her 70s. She stands outside our hotel for every game we play whether it’s raining, whether it’s snowing, covered up with Celtic gear. She wears her Brendan hat, her Brendan scarf. Her son came up to me not so long ago and said ‘Thank you so much, you’ve given her a new lease of life’. That makes me as happy as picking up a trophy.

“If you can do that to people and help them, and make them happy, then that makes me happy.

“I had a brilliant time in Swansea, it was amazing what we did there to get them to be the first Welsh team in the Premier League. Liverpool’s charge for the title was incredible and really enjoyable. But here, 2017, I’m at a club where I still pinch myself at times.

“We were training before we went to Dundee at Christmas day and I’m standing in the centre circle looking at Celtic Football Club and it still takes me back when I look at it.

“It’s been an amazing year, so to bring joy and a winning mentality to it makes it even more special.

“When I’m 60 odd and sitting in Majorca we can think about it!”

While it remains to be seen if business will be done soon enough in the window for players to join Celtic at their plush UAE base as those back in Scotland go sledging, Rodgers is open about his desire to add freshness to his squad next month.

St Mirren's Lewis Morgan seems set to sign - although it's understood he will be staying in Paisley for the foreseeable future - but the Parkhead manager says he will bring in players for the long term, and not simply those who will be eligible to play against Zenit St Petersburg in February's Europa League meeting, a tie new defender Marvin Compper is ineligible for.

He said: "There’s some more to come in, we want to strengthen of course. It’s not about numbers, it’s about getting the right people in.

"I’m not blinkered that we bring players in on January just for that game. Your thinking, of course, has to be over a period of time. We want to be successful and do well in that tie, but whenever you are asking a player to come it’s not just for that game. There has to be a project in place.I hope to be able to do that."