Ange Postecoglou's focus on addressing his Celtic concerns - and not Rangers' results

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou did not dismiss his team’s latest set-piece goal concessions that required them to survive a few scares before running out 3-2 winners against Dundee.

A Giorgos Giakoumakis hat-trick allowed them to extend their lead over Rangers at the top of the cinch Premiership to three points, but not before they went behind from failing to deal with a corner ahead of Mark McGhee’s team fighting back to 2-2 early in the second period. It now means every one of the past four goals Celtic have conceded in the league have come from set-pieces - Aberdeen striking twice in such fashion in top flight leaders’ 3-2 win at Pittodrie 12 days - and Postecoglou admitted it is an issue that needs to be ironed out.

“It’s a concern,” he said. “[Especially] when we’re dominating a game so much, defending so well and keeping them away from goal, Joe Hart didn’t have a save to make. I don’t think he even touched the ball with his hands. If they can just lob balls in the box and we concede, that’s not good. It’s something we need to address, have a little more conviction in our box, the same way we do in the opposition box. There are definitely lessons in there but that’s part of our continual improvement as a team. There are still areas we need to get better at and that’s one of them.

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“It is never going to run smooth. It is impossible for it to when we had a complete rebuild of a team. It is not supposed to run smooth when you do that. What we have done really well as when the players are challenged or we have had to find resilience we have found it. Particularly at the second goal when they equalised it would have been very easy to get anxious. You could tell the crowd were getting bit nervous. It was important we kept our heads and played our football and we got our reward.”

The reward was a significant one with Rangers dropping two points at Tannadice earlier in the day, but the Celtic manager maintained that result couldn’t be allowed to impact on Celtic’s approach against Dundee.

“If you start thinking that way … what we have done really well is focus on ourselves,” he said. “It’s not long ago we were six points behind. If we start thinking about other teams and what they are doing, and sweating on other results, we wouldn’t be where we are. It’s going to be a tight race. I don’t expect us to just go sailing smoothly along. There are going to be challenges for this team.

“It will be tough game in Edinburgh next week. There are no easy games. This was not an easy game. People see you are playing the bottom side at home. And we should have won it comfortably. Absolutely. But football doesn’t work that way. Everything you get you’ve got to earn. Football finds a way of making you earn it and we had to earn it today. Whatever we get out of this year we will have to earn. It’s not going to come from anyone giving us anything so there is no point in worrying about other results.”

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Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou at full time after a Cinch Premiership 3-2 win over Dundee at Celtic Park, on February 20, 2022, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

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