'Three points closer, mate': Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou not getting carried away but does single out one trait for special praise

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou refused to get carried away with talk of his team having one hand on the cinch Premiership trophy after Sunday’s 2-1 win over Rangers moved them six points clear of their arch rivals with six games to play.

First-half goals from Tom Rogic and Cameron Carter-Vickers helped Celtic overcome a rocky start after Aaron Ramsey’s fourth-minute opener and a colossal defensive effort in the second period held off a Rangers fightback at Ibrox.

Celtic are now heavy favourites to go on and win the title – they also have a better goal difference than defending champions Rangers by 16 – but Postecoglou, while delighted with the result, insisted that nothing has been decided.

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When asked where this victory leaves Celtic in the title race, Postecoglou responded: “Three points closer, mate.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou applauds his supporters after the 2-1 win over Rangers.Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou applauds his supporters after the 2-1 win over Rangers.
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou applauds his supporters after the 2-1 win over Rangers.

“We’ve just got to keep doing what we’ve been doing. We’re in this position for a reason and the main reason is that the value of this group of players, the resilience they have.

“After six games we’d lost three and we were still putting a team together.

“But at no stage did I make excuses or any allowances for them. They accepted the challenge ahead of them.

“We’ve got to this point because of what you saw today. Our football’s been great. But there’s a real abundance of character within the group.

“I’m really proud of the players. It was a proper derby, both teams were at it and they obviously got off to a great start.

“The crowd was up for it. To come back from that [Rangers’ opening goal] and show the resilience we did, we played ourselves back into the game and got ahead. Then the character in the second half to defend as we did, like I said I’m really proud.”

Postecoglou said that the way his team responded to Rangers’ fast start is testament to the character of the group.

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“We kind of new that they would come out fast, especially after the last game and what was at stake today,” continued Postecoglou.

“We knew they’d come at us and they scored a good goal early on. Then we’re looking for the reaction – what do we do about it?

“There was still plenty of time, we knew that.

“This group of players just really believes in what we’re trying to create here.

“I thought when we needed to we found the football to get us back in the game.

“Callum [McGregor, captain] was just outstanding as a leader. His role in that first goal, particularly, was brilliant.

“But we didn’t settle for that. We went and got our second goal.

“Second half we had to defend but I thought we defended really well with the balls in the box. But we showed real courage and put our bodies on the line, Joe made a couple of good saves.

“We also had goo chances to seal it at the other end.

“So, it wasn’t the start you wanted – but if you want to reveal character you reveal it in the most difficult of circumstances and that happened today.

“I thought you saw the character of this group.”