"Most significant of the lot" - Why Ange Postecoglou loved one of Celtic's five goals against Kilmarnock more than others

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has hailed defender Carl Starfelt’s goalscoring return to action after a 5-0 win over Kilmarnock.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou after 5-0 win over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou after 5-0 win over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

On a day when his side scored two overhead kicks and one 30-yard strike, the manager described the Swede’s bundled-in goal to put Celtic four up with 15 minutes left as the most “significant” in terms of what it meant to the player personally.

As well as marking his return from a hamstring injury, it was also Starfelt’s first goal for the club on his 50th appearance. The centre half, who replaced fellow goalscorer Moritz Jenz ten minutes after half-time, needed two attempts to force the ball past Kilmarnock goalkeeper Sam Walker after he was in the right place at the right time following Matt O’Riley’s corner. It was his first appearance of the season.

“He has worked really hard in rehab,” said Postecoglou. “He was really frustrated after such a strong season for us last year and then he went away on international duty and got injured and missed pretty much all of the pre-season for us.

“He has worked really hard to get himself back to a position where he is available again. Credit to him, he is a really good pro. He comes in every day and works really hard in training and he’s a really strong team-mate. I am really pleased for him to get a goal, he has been trying really hard. It was probably the ugliest of the five but probably the most significant.”

Celtic seemed to make a mockery of Postecoglou’s pre-match concerns about the quality of Kilmarnock’s synthetic pitch. However, the Australian still felt the park - as well as the heat, which saw two water breaks – represented a challenge.

“It wasn’t the easiest of conditions for our boys to play football both in terms of the temperature and the pitch,” he said.

“They had a singular focus. It (the pitch) still does affect us and it did affect us at times with our fluency, and stumbling a little bit because the natural mechanics of a turf pitch aren’t there.

“But again, you can either use that as a clutch to adjust how we play or we can stick to what we do and to the players’ credit they did that.”

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