Goal-hungry Ange Postecoglou admits he would take great pride in smashing Celtic’s scoring record this season.
The Hoops’ most prolific league campaign was in 1915-16 when they netted a whopping 116 times under Willie Maley, while Brendan Rodgers’ 2016-17 team hold the club’s post-war record of 106.
Postecoglou’s rampant side, who need just seven more points to guarantee the cinch Premiership title, have notched 102 goals with six games left in which to shoot for the scoring record.
“As much as we get defined by success, which means winning trophies and games of football, I guess the most pleasing thing for me is the number of goals we’ve scored because I still think that’s the best part of football for me,” said Postecoglou.
“It goes beyond winning because sometimes you can win and not really enjoy a game of football but no-one ever does not enjoy a goal, even the most scrambly, ugliest of goals still get celebrated.
“If there’s one record I’ll be most proud of it will be if we can score more goals than have ever been scored before by the football club because I know how much joy that has brought everybody involved, players and supporters.
“The backdrop of that is that we have to win games and win trophies – that’s always going to be the measure – but especially at this football club, and just in football in general, I love the joy that goals bring. The more we score, the happier I am.”
Postecoglou, whose side host Motherwell on Saturday, is pleased with the impact Tomoki Iwata has made after starting two of the Hoops’ last three matches after being phased in gently to Scottish football following his January arrival from Yokohama.
“He’s one I knew really well because I’ve managed him before so I knew what I was getting,” said the manager. “Tomoki is a really strong-willed, determined footballer who I always knew would try and be the best he could be.
“Before I brought him in here, I knew he would add to our environment with the way he goes about things. If you ask the lads, they’ll all tell you the same thing – he’s just an unbelievable trainer.
“But he’s also a quality player. I think he brings something different to our midfield. He’s a little bit of a hybrid. Even though he looks like a defensive midfielder, his background is that he started as a wing-back and then became a central defender in a back three with a licence to go forward.
“He’s got immense running power, he’s really strong, very mobile and technically very good on the ball. He’ll keep growing once he adjusts more and I think you’ll find he’ll be a player who plays that role very differently to anyone else.
“I’ve been a bit cautious about how much game time I’ve given him because I remember last year overloading the guys who had just come off a full Asian season and it can be to their detriment.
“Easing him in means he’ll finish the season strong. Whatever games we’ve got left, he’ll be at his best and then he can do a full pre-season with us and be ready for next year. I’m really pleased with him.”
Postecoglou refused to be drawn on a report this week claiming USA defender Cameron Carter-Vickers may need to end his season prematurely and undergo surgery to fix an ongoing knee problem.
The influential centre-back sat out last weekend’s match on Kilmarnock’s plastic pitch but is set to return on Saturday.
“Cameron’s trained all week and will play tomorrow,” said Postecoglou on Friday. “The only reason he didn’t play last week was because of the surface.”
Pressed on whether Carter-Vickers will need an operation, the manager said: “I can’t predict the future. If he gets through tomorrow, he’ll play next week.”
Jota, Reo Hatate and Liel Abada are set to miss out but Postecoglou refused to divulge whether he expects any of them back for next weekend’s Scottish Cup semi-final showdown with Rangers.