Celtic’s Ange Postecoglou reveals his stance on 'guaranteed' draw in Ibrox derby

If the football genie came to those of a Celtic disposition and said they could engineer it so that their team emerged unbeaten from Ibrox on Sunday it would be a wish they would crave to be granted.

Ange Postecoglou, on the other hand, would flatly reject the proposal. A tied scoreline in Celtic’s humongous hosting by Rangers at the weekend would keep the cinch Premiership leaders remained firmly in charge in the title race, ensuring they retained a three-point advantage over Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men with six games to play. Four of which will be at home for Celtic, while their rivals face four away fixtures - including one at Parkhead. Yet, while having no truck with the suggestion that a second successive derby victory for his men would apply the coup de grace in their championship quest, the Celtic manager is not wired up to have in his mind anything but playing their attacking brand of football to chase a victory that would put six points between them and Rangers.

Asked if the fact his team don’t need to win at Ibrox could alter his approach, Postecoglou’s response proved unsurprising. “I don't think so. We have to win it too,” he said. “There are still seven games to go; games of real consequence. We are getting to a point in the season when the league is so tight, and if we start thinking we've got an edge then we could stumble. It's a game they want to win, but we want to win as well because, if we do, it puts us in a strong position. We are going there and we will try and put on our performance and play our football. We have done that over the last few months and we've ended up with a good chance of being successful.

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“If someone out there said to me there's a system out there that would guarantee you 150 percent that you would get a draw, I wouldn't take it. I reckon others would, but if I took it I'd be thinking: 'maybe we could have won'. I just don't believe in that approach.We always have to fall back on why we are in the position we are at the moment. The reason for that is that we believe in something beyond just trying to win a game of football. And that is playing our way."

LENNOXTOWN, SCOTLAND - APRIL 01: Kyogo Furuhashi during a Celtic training session at Lennontown, on April 01, 2022, in Lennoxtown, Scotland. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

Celtic have played their way to a 31 game domestic unbeaten run - wherein they have won 21 and drawn four of their past 25 league games - with key players missing for spells. The boost of Kyogo Furuhashi’s availability for the first time since Boxing Day means Postecoglou has practically a full squad - with only James Forrest sidelined. The Australian doesn’t make light of that fact. “This is probably the strongest group of players we’ve had since the beginning of the year in terms of where they are, and in terms of their fitness and their form,” he said. “We are in a much better space in terms of preparing [than before the 1-0 loss at Ibrox in August] but the challenge still remains the same. It’s going to be a difficult game and a difficult venue. We’re going to have to be at our best to be successful.”

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