'He would have been up off his chair' - Ange Postecoglou hails Celtic's sizzling performance against Hearts

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou dedicated his team’s exhilarating display against Hearts in the Premier Sports Cup to his late father Jim.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou salutes the home support after his team's 3-2 Premier Sports Cup win over Hearts on Sunday. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou salutes the home support after his team's 3-2 Premier Sports Cup win over Hearts on Sunday. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Postecoglou’s side maintained their recent impressive form with a victory far more dominant than the 3-2 scoreline indicates.

It was the stylish manner of their performance which most gratified the Australian coach as the Celtic players embrace the ethos he learned from his dad who passed away in 2018.

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“That’s the kind of football my father instilled in me,” said Postecoglou. “He’s up there now, but I always envisage him in the stands and think about what he’d say about the team.

Kyogo Furuhashi gets in ahead of Hearts defender Michael Smith to smash home Celtic's third goal in their Premier Sports Cup victory over Hearts. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

“He was never raptured by results, he just wanted to see a certain type of football. And I know he would have been up off his chair, in the first-half especially.

“We played great but more importantly the players enjoyed it and they got their rewards. The players are really buying into it, which is great, that's what I need.

“We are getting belief in our football and getting rewards from that belief. I just want to keep fertilising that to keep us growing as a football team. Once they see the possibilities, they commit to it totally and hopefully that encourages them to do it more and keep improving our football.”

Celtic led 2-0 at half-time through goals from Odsonne Edouard and Stephen Welsh before Liam Boyce pulled one back from the penalty spot for Hearts. Kyogo Furuhashi made it 3-1 before Aaron McEneff scored for the visitors in stoppage time.

Postecoglou wasn’t overly concerned by Celtic’s failure to take more of their chances on a day when they had an astonishing 35 attempts at goal.

“There’s no frustration,” he said. “That's the game of football. I said to the players after the game, it's how this game keeps you honest. If your standards drop a little bit, then you can very well be punished. But that's what keeps you honest, it just keeps us motivated to keep improving.

“I thought the first hour we were really good, the best football we played this year. We dominated and the only thing we didn't take advantage of was some unbelievable opportunities to put the game to bed.

“The football was outstanding, the intent was outstanding. We never took our foot off the pedal, and credit to the players, in the middle of a heavy schedule, that they were able to push that far in.

“The last half hour we got a bit ragged for sure, a bit of fatigue set in, some lapses in concentration, but I was really pleased with the football we played.

“You are never going to totally dominate a game for 90 minutes. It doesn't matter who you are, there's always going to be times when the opposition gets into the game.

“The most important thing is our intent. If our intent is always to be aggressive, then even when we are under a little bit of pressure then we can ride through that. In the last 20 minutes we still had opportunities but we were careless in some things, but that doesn't take away from the football we played in the early part.”

Postecoglou is hopeful Ryan Christie, who missed out against Hearts through injury, will return against AZ Alkmaar on Wednesday.

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