Ange hates singling out players for praise; made an exception last night in Celtic dressing room

By John McGinley

August 19, 2021

Ange Postecoglou has admitted he hates singling players out for praise after a strong team performance but that Anthony Ralston left him no choice last night at Celtic Park.

Kyogo Furuhashi won the sponsors man of the match award after a fine attacking performance. However, after the game, the name on many fans’ lips was Ralston’s.

The right-back was simply superb in the European fixture, defining the concept of rising to the occasion.

Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images

Not only did he make a goal-saving clearance at a crucial point in the second half, but his effort was a thorn in the side of AZ Alkmaar in their own half too. His bursting run towards the end almost led to a Celtic third on the night.

Ange is a man who always stresses the collective, but made a point last night of going against policy and singling out Ralston because he was that good.

As quoted by STV, he said: “I hate singling people out, but I actually said it to the team and I don’t mind saying it publicly, Anthony Ralston was just unbelievable. And at the end there he was still sprinting forward trying to create stuff for us. And I know he will have been running on empty, he has played every minute of every game.

Celtic 2-0 AZ Alkmaar | LIVE Reaction

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“There’s a core group I am continually going to and we need to support them and the club is well aware of that. It’s our responsibility to provide support, and by that I mean extra players, and relieve the burden.

“I have said right-back is a priority position because Anthony is the only one we have got. He is doing unbelievably well but he needs support.”

The progress Ralston has made under the new manager is incredible. In January Celtic were completing dodgy loan deals just so the academy graduate wouldn’t get a game. Now, the position is his own.

Whether it’s Josip Juranovic or another, any new signing is going to have to come in and earn his spot at Celtic with Ralston showing this kind of dedication.

Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images

As Postecoglou knows, Celtic can’t be naive and think Ralston can be relied upon every game this season. However, he’s played himself into contention to be a part of this squad. For now, that’s a fair achievement for him.

I’m absolutely delighted for him and for proving the doubters wrong, a group I was very much apart of.

In other news, “Outwitted by Kyogo” in a “hurricane of noise”; what the Dutch media are saying about brilliant Celtic.