Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou: Tom Rogic should no longer be placed "in a certain box"

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has confounded many expectations across his early months at the club.

Celtics Tom Rogic ...a start against Hibs would see the Australan eclipse his first XI appearances from each of the past two seasons. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

Not just over what he, as an Australian, could bring, but in terms of what a fellow countryman could offer. The perception of Tom Rogic was settled before Postecoglou fronted up at Celtic Park. The playmaker was a gifted, but porcelain, performer incapable of standing up to the rigours of club football. It was an understandable conclusion with the near eight years of the powerfully-built attacker at Celtic scarred by injury episodes; with three knee surgeries, a groin operation and extended periods out through hamstring and ankle issues. The Celtic manager believes that allowed for Rogic to be placed “in a box” as a player who couldn’t stay fit and couldn’t see out games even when he was fit. It is one from which the 56-year-old seems to have helped the Celtic man to climb out. Rogic is one of only two players - his scheming partner David Turnbull the other - who have appeared in every one of Celtic’s 21 games this season.

Should Rogic be named in the line-up for the visit to Hibs at Easter Road and earn a 15th start this term, he will have bettered such a total for any season since 2018-19...with seven months of hostilities still to come. Rogic, who has rarely been withdrawn at around the 60-minute mark that became a feature of his contributions in the Brendan Rodgers era, has coped with a decidedly heavy workload. And Postecoglou is intent on ensuring he is utilised to allow that to continue to be the case.

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“He works really hard in training. Since I’ve been here, knock on wood, he’s done everything right on and off the field,” said the Celtic manager. “I think he’s looking strong in games. In some games we’ve taken him off only because we’ve wanted to change the dynamic a little bit rather than due to fitness. Him and David Turnbull have played a lot of football so far. We’ve just got to be careful with them to tip them over the end. We’re working hard with the sports science staff to make sure we are keeping track of their workloads. At the moment, they are both still really strong and looking bright in games. That’s pleasing for us because both players can make a big impact when they are on the field.

“I know Tom well and have always felt that he’s got something special about him. He’s one of those players who most people would say they enjoy watching. He’s just got something different about him. Yes he’s had some issues but sometimes I think he’s one of the players who people want to put in a certain box.Throughout his career, he’s done some remarkable things. He’s had a fantastic career here with Celtic. You don’t stay at a football club like this unless you have something to offer. I still think there’s more to come. He’s only 28. In many respects, his best football years could be ahead of him. He’s now beyond the 50 cap mark with Australia which isn’t easy. He’s done remarkably well. He’s become a senior member here at Celtic and with the national team. At both club and international level, he’s got plenty to offer.”

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