Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou believes his players’ character and determination to improve have been key factors in them staying on top of the pile in Scottish football for 12 months now.
Postecoglou saw his team go top of the cinch Premiership table for the first time on February 2 2022 when they swept Rangers aside in a 3-0 derby victory.
They never looked back as they went on to clinch the title and they have led the way this season since beating Aberdeen in their opening match.
Rangers have improved their results under recently appointed manager Michael Beale but Celtic’s form means they have been able to maintain a nine-point lead in the title race.
Looking back over their time at the summit, Postecoglou said: “It’s been a big part of this team, aside from the football, just the character and resilience they have shown.
“Obviously that night was significant because it was the first time we went top of the table.
“As people always said, it’s one thing chasing but it’s another thing being chased. Again this group of players has handled it really, really well.
“I think the main reason is because we haven’t really focused on our position in the table or what the points situation is.
“What we are focused on is trying to improve. As good as we were that night a year ago, I think we are a better side now.
“That’s always our aim: can we keep improving? Can we keep adding layers to our football and improving our players individually and us as a collective?
“I think our form and performances since the break, we were very good before the break domestically, but since the break we have gone up a notch.”
On Sunday Celtic face a trip to St Johnstone’s McDiarmid Park, a pitch that Beale recently described as a “cow field”.
Even Saints manager Callum Davidson admitted his players were glad to be playing on the impressive Fir Park surface on Wednesday rather than their own pitch after they ended a seven-match losing streak with victory over Motherwell.
Postecoglou said: “We will obviously take it into account. To be fair, a lot of the pitches at the moment aren’t in great nick, ours included, so it’s something we have had to adjust to, even in last week’s game against Dundee United.
“So it’s something we need to adjust to. But within that context we have still tried to maintain our clear focus that the solutions to that challenge still lie in the stuff we do really well.
“It will still help us be successful we don’t want to change our game, we don’t want to change our approach.
“And in terms of team selection nothing really changes because we still want to go out there and be a dominant team, work hard defensively, be disciplined in our structures.
“Maybe we won’t be as fluent in our football but it doesn’t stop us being as threatening. it’s just something we need to adjust to.”