When Tom Rogic scored deep into stoppage time against Aberdeen at Hampden Park to win the Scottish Cup, rounding off an ‘invincible’ season for Celtic, there was a touch of kismet alongside the rainclouds hanging heavy in the air.

There was a feeling that no matter how much of a game fight the Dons put up that day, everything at that point was just going the way of Celtic and Brendan Rodgers.

The same certainly can’t be said this time around. The road to possible glory for Rodgers since his summer return to Celtic has been a lot bumpier than it was in his debut season as boss, and the road to Hampden will likely be no different.

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Celtic have already careered off that track this season, crashing out of the League Cup to Kilmarnock at Rugby Park. By drawing an in-form St Mirren out of the hat away from home in the fifth round, there is a significant roadblock between them and the Scottish Cup too.

Rodgers is getting used to the feeling. Any silverware his team do get this season, they will certainly be able to say they had to work for it.

But while the journey may be different this time around, the final destination remains the same, and the Celtic manager thinks that if his men do get their hands on that trophy this time around, it will be just as special as the first time he guided them to it.

“In a different way yes,” Rodgers said.

“It just feels like there have been so many roadblocks in the way this year. But that’s the challenge of being a manager. There are different roadblocks.

“There have been lots of little times along the way where it has been challenging. But that’s what it’s about. You can only adapt. It’s been a challenge, which I thought it would be, in all fairness.

“I said on the first day I thought the pressure and expectation would be more difficult because of the last time and because of how I left. But that’s ok, I can deal with that.

“It’s a case about time to turn it around. We've had lots of issues around fitness of players and key players. You look at the games where we’ve missed people and the level of player that always makes the football look different.

“But it’s still been exciting for me and I’ve still loved being here and I still want to be here for a period of time in order to ensure we can progress.

“It might not have started off as smoothly as you’d like or how it did the last time. It doesn’t mean it never will be, so I’m very optimistic for the team and the club and how we can improve.

“I’ll have that ambition to do that.”

This Celtic team then might not go down as one of the club’s greatest, as that team from Rodgers’ first season in charge arguably already has, but he thinks they might be able to carve out their own place in history if they refuse to buckle under the challenges that have been presented to them this term.

“It’s a lot harder,” he said.

“It’s been a lot harder. Particularly that first season we were in a rhythm and a flow, it was a great group of players, they were robust, they were physical, they were strong and technical. We had a real good mentality in the team.

“This year has been different. We’ve got some outstanding players with real quality but we’ve never been able to piece that all together.

“In the future, we will, but in the meantime you have to win. It might not be as cohesive or as fluent for all those reasons, but you still have to find a way to win and that’s what this team is doing.”

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So, for all the rancour and disgruntlement that has seemed like background radiation in Celtic’s season so far, a happy ending like the ones they have become accustomed to might still be in the offing if Rodgers has his way.

“I’ve missed Hampden,” he said.

“It’s an amazing competition to be involved in and I was very fortunate to have the feelings and memories we created the first time.

“So missing out on the League Cup, we’re even more determined for this competition.

“It’s something special. It’s brilliant. Obviously the first game was an iconic game for us and the feeling how it summarised the whole season.

“Memories created like that are with you forever. To then be able to do it against Motherwell a year later so convincingly capped off another great season.

“I love the competition and I hope we can get there again.”