Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has challenged his team to find their best form in the home straight of the season – even though they have just won their last 14 consecutive games.
Celtic take a healthy lead into the final nine fixtures of the cinch Premiership season and have a Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers to look forward to at the end of April.
The champions saved their best form for the end of Postecoglou’s first season in charge and the former Australia head coach has again devised his approach to ensure they can peak at the right time again.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s trip to Dingwall to face Ross County, Postecoglou said: “We are looking at it from a yearly planning perspective.
“At this point of the year everything gets decided so we wanted to be in a really strong position at this point. We have achieved that.
“But the second part of that was that we want to finish the season strongly, as we did last year, with our best form and where we are at our strongest at this time of the year. That’s been the plan all along.
“If you look at the first stretch of games and then post-World Cup, in that middle section we were stronger than the first section and the plan is to be stronger in the final section. That’s all theory, we have still got to get down to the practicalities of doing it.
“The players are ready to go and they understand what needs to be done between now and the end of the year – beginning on Sunday – to put in a strong performance and finish the season in the manner we want to.”
Celtic won 18 and drew one of their 19 games between the World Cup interval and the recent international break, but Postecoglou will never rest on his laurels.
“We are not basing it on results, we are basing it on performances, and I think we can still improve our performances,” he said.
“Obviously the results are the by-product of that. We always focus on being a better football team, being more aggressive in our approach, scoring more goals, all those targets and ambitions are always there.
“It’s a never-ending thread where we keep showing we can play better football.
“Obviously that’s not always going to transfer in terms of results because we have been almost perfect in that last stretch of games, but it doesn’t mean you can’t improve.
“The results can be the same but the performances can be stronger and that’s all we try to do.”