Ange Postecoglou hailed the positive mentality of his Celtic squad after three substitutes scored four late goals in the 5-1 Scottish Cup win over St Mirren at Parkhead on Saturday.
Just after the hour mark of the fifth-round tie with the Hoops leading through a first-half goal from Daizen Maeda, the Celtic boss brought on Reo Hatate, Oh Hyeon-gyu and Matt O’Riley for David Turnbull, Aaron Mooy and Jota and the home side slowly turned the screw.
Hatate scored a penalty in the 76th minute after Buddies defender Richard Taylor was sent off by referee Steven McLean for conceding the VAR-confirmed spot-kick with a handball.
Oh slammed in his first Celtic goal since signing from South Korean club Suwon Samsung Bluewings after St Mirren keeper Trevor Carson spilled a Callum McGregor shot and although Stephen Robinson’s side reduced the deficit in the 87th minute with a Mark O’Hara penalty, O’Riley and Hatate scored terrific late strikes as the champions finished strongly.
Postecoglou said: “Everyone knows the strength in depth, that is one thing, the other thing is what happens with it.
“Credit to the lads, they have a great mindset, the guys coming on are not feeling sorry for themselves because they are not starting, they are ready for whatever minutes they have got to play and they want to make a contribution, make an impact and that’s what they are doing.
“That’s when having a strong squad is something hugely positive for us.
“You can have a big squad and people not contributing because they are disappointed they are not starting or they feel aggrieved for some reason.
“As you can see with the lads here, whether they are starting or not, their attitude is first class.”
Robinson was also pleased with the attitude and application of his players and believes his side can take encouragement from the performance as the Buddies, who sit in sixth place in the cinch Premiership, a point behind Hibernian with a game in hand, now look to clinch a top-half finish in the run-in.
He said: “For 75 minutes our boys deserve so much credit and we’ll take it into the last few games of the season and try to finish in the top six.
“Considering where the club was when we took over, that would be an unbelievable achievement for this group and the staff.”