BRENDAN RODGERS claims Leicester have provided the encouragement for unlikely success as he prepares Celtic to meet surprise Ladbrokes Premiership leaders Kilmarnock on Saturday.
The east midlands club stunned the football world in 2016 when they won the English Premier League having started the season as 5,000-1 outsiders.
There were eyebrows raised in Scottish football when Steve Clarke’s Killie moved top of the table on Wednesday night with a 2-0 home win over Livingston.
Ahead of their trip to Parkhead the Ayrshire club are one point ahead of Rangers with Celtic behind the Ibrox side on goals scored, albeit with two games in hand over the league leaders.
Asked if a club like Kilmarnock could win the title, the Hoops boss said: “They will feel that, why not?
“I think what Leicester have done to probably every team that aren’t a so-called big club is that they have made the impossible possible.
“It is still very early, we have played 14 games and when there are 10 games to go we will see.
“But what they have shown is the level of consistency, they are a very good side with good players, some experienced players in there and Steve and his staff have done a great job so yes, I am sure they will be up there during the season.
“They deserve all the credit they get and the biggest credit you can give them is that it’s not by accident.
“It has been a real consistent run over the last year or so.
“Steve has done a brilliant job in terms of how he organises the team and the way they want to play and consistently they get very good results.
“Okay, they have played two more games than us but they are still in a position where some people wouldn’t expect them to be.
“But if you watch them closely for the last year, Steve and the players have done a great job in terms of how they have worked and like I say they are a very difficult team to beat, so we know we have to be at our very best tomorrow to get the result we want.”
Rodgers is aware that in the four meetings between the two clubs in which he has come up against Clarke, there have been two wins for Killie and two draws, the most recent a 2-1 win for the home side at Rugby Park in September.
The Northern Irishman said: “They have been a tough team to play against.
“They set up in a way that makes it very difficult for you. They haven’t conceded in a few games either.
“You have to be really patient in the game as they bank up really tight and have good players on the counter-attack.
“So we have to be at our best to get a result.”