Ange Postecoglou praises Celtic resilience as they approach title and praises “brilliant” center-backs

FOR all the accolades Ange Postecoglou has received for the Celtic team’s exciting and smooth football this season, it could be an absolutely primal quality that would prove to be the deciding factor in his current crowning as Scottish Premier League champion; Durability.

It’s a quality that Postecoglou has often referred to in recent weeks as he faces the many obstacles his players have overcome this season, and it’s more of a quality than anyone else in his men who gave them a win over Rangers. At Ibrox he would go to Celtic Park, which almost confirmed the title.

After losing an early goal to Aaron Ramsey, Celtic looked over the ropes as Ibrox barked for a deadly second. The fact is that Celtic players – led by captain Callum McGregor – teamed up and showed their courage to practically kill the Rangers title defense.

If this character shows up during troubled times, these Celtic players have proven that they have him in abundance.

Postecglou said: “I am really proud of my players.

“It was a real derby, both teams were there and obviously they started well. The crowd was ready.

“To go back from that and show our resilience, we went back to the game and took the lead. Then I’m really proud of the character to defend as we did in the second half, as I said.

We knew they would come out quickly, especially after the last game and the stakes today. We knew they would come to us and they scored a good goal from the start.

“Then we look for the reaction: what do we do about it? There was more time, we knew that.

“This group of players really believe in what we are trying to create here. I thought we would find football that would bring us back into play when we needed it.

“Callum was simply phenomenal as a leader. Especially his role in that first goal was fantastic. But we weren’t satisfied with it. We went to our second destination.

“We had to defend in the second half, but I think we defended very well with the balls inside the penalty area. But we really dared and showed our bodies, Joe (Hart) made some good saves. We also played well. possibility of sealing on the other side.

“So it wasn’t the beginning you wanted, but if you want to bring out the character, you bring it out in the most difficult circumstances, and it happened today.

“I thought you saw the character of this group.”

Postecglou praised their central defenders, with Carl Starfelt and Cameron Carter-Vickers – scoring the crucial second goal for his side – pausing at both ends of the pitch.

“We knew today’s game would have a physical element in both boxes, we knew they were the kind of team that would throw a lot of balls into the area,” he said.

“But we can cause our delivery problems in their box.

“This is something the group has proven over and over again. When something is needed, there is someone in the ranks of the players who intervenes. Cam finally arrived today and it was great to see.

“He and Carl were perfect as two full backs. You knew they were going to throw balls into the area because they were chasing the match. They are a great and solid team, but I think we have handled the situation very well.

“In the second half, their main threat would come from the balls inside the penalty area. But we knew we could handle it as long as we stayed compact. On the contrary, I thought we could hit them on the break, which I think we did. We didn’t have a bit of composure to score the third goal in the last third.

“I said before the game that we are probably in the best possible area in terms of health and team and we have put some very good players to help us. I think this will be important in the final matches.

Source: Herald Scotland