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Ange Postecoglou hopes Celtic’s battling qualities will stand them in good stead

By December 3, 2021No Comments

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou feels the character and resilience his team showed to see out victory against Hearts will be crucial during a hectic month.

Postecoglou’s side missed some good chances before Hearts fought back strongly in an exciting second half at Parkhead on Thursday.

Celtic lost three players to injury but held on for a 1-0 victory, their third consecutive one-goal win at home in the cinch Premiership, thanks to Kyogo Furuhashi’s disputed first-half goal which looked marginally offside.

The Hoops are not blowing teams away at Celtic Park like they were earlier in the season, for instance when they beat both Dundee and St Mirren 6-0.

And with nine more matches to play until the winter break starts in early January, Postecoglou knows they will have to keep digging deep to maintain their momentum.

“It’s important, especially the way we want to play our football,” the former Australia head coach said.

“It’s very hard to keep energy levels that high all the time for 90 minutes.

“In the context of a game, when a team is 1-0 down, they are going to take more risks and throw more bodies forward. Just naturally you are going to have to defend a little bit more.

“We have dealt with that side of it really well in recent games and we are going to need to for sure, there are times when we are going to grind games out.

“But I thought some of our football on Thursday was outstanding. I know what the headlines will be but I watch football differently, I look at what’s actually happening, not just the outcome.”

Celtic now face Dundee United at Tannadice on Sunday having drawn at home to Tam Courts’ side in September.

“It’s a good challenge, they frustrated us here and away from home it’s always a good challenge,” Postecoglou said.

“So I am expecting a tough game but our away form has been really strong and we just need to continue.

“As I keep saying to the players, it’s about us focusing on our football and making sure every week we represent ourselves in the right manner and go about it in the right way and not get too caught up in what’s happening all around us.

“We have done that pretty well in recent times and we just need to keep going.

“They are all going to be quick turnarounds from now on. The boys are good now at getting the routine right and the recovery. The staff work hard to get them up and running.

“We will see what comes out of the game in terms of medical reports and make some decisions.”

Anthony Ralston, Jota and Stephen Welsh all went off injured against Hearts, although Cameron Carter-Vickers will return after a personal issue kept him out.

On the injuries, Postecoglou said: “It’s always a worry but that’s why we try and get players up and running. We have got a little bit more depth now than we had.

“We coped well with Carl (Starfelt) and Tommy (Rogic) being out for such a period. You don’t want it to add up obviously but I think the squad is in a better position to cover absences at the moment.

“I’m hoping they are not significant but if they are missing for a couple of games then we have got players who can come in and do a job for us.”

Starfelt and Rogic both impressed on their returns against Hearts with the former winning man of the match.

“It’s not just the work we do with the players but the work we do with the guys who are coming back to make sure they are ready, because it’s not easy to come into our squad,” Postecoglou said.

“We play very high tempo, it’s very demanding on the body, so the boys have to be ready to go.

“The backroom staff, medical team, sports science, all do great work with these guys. It was great to see them come in and slip into it so well. Tommy was never meant to play 90 but with the injuries we had to make a call for him to keep playing.

“It’s not just about 11 players for sure, we are going to need the whole squad to get through these series of games.”