Ange's big call vindicated, lightning restarts; 3 things we learned as Celtic thrash Rangers

By John McGinley

September 3, 2022

Celtic reminded everyone why they are the reigning Scottish champions with a thrilling 4-0 win over arch-rivals Rangers at Celtic Park this afternoon.

A double from Liel Abada bookended a sublime Jota finish to put Ange Postecoglou’s side on easy street before the interval, with the visitors doing little to threaten in the second half. David Turnbull then came off the bench to really rub in the pain after a horrendous Jon McLaughlin error.

It was a fantastic sign that Celtic continue to get bigger and better in season two of the Postecoglou reign – but what were our specific takeaways from today’s game? Here are three…

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Ange got the Abada call spot on

One of the big selection debates this week was surrounding what the manager would do in the wide areas – whether he would persist with Liel Abada and his lethal knack for finishing chances or revert to Daizen Maeda’s all-action style.

In the end, he went with Abada. By half-time it was a call that had already been fully vindicated. The young Israeli international has an uncanny ability to find himself in the right place at the right time when balls break in the box, and when given a sniff of goal, he rarely misses.

Still just 20, the sky is the limit when it comes to what Abada can achieve at Celtic in this mood. Postecoglou knows exactly when to unleash him on the opposition and how to use him in this system. It’s thrilling stuff and, today, it provided the spark for a big derby victory.

Celtic’s never stop style catches out Rangers

A theme of the first half was Celtic’s ability to completely catch Rangers off guard by reacting quickly to throw-ins and free-kicks, often quickly distributing the ball to create chaos.

The first goal came from Jota aggressively pressing James Tavernier before quickly releasing a throw-in for Matt O’Riley to ping in the box, with the ball breaking for Abada. As covered already, he’s lethal in that area.

The second goal was similar in a sense. Captain Callum McGregor quickly took a free-kick to play in O’Riley, who spotted an early rampaging, diagonal run from Jota. The Portuguese attacker produced a sumptuous, world-class dink over the goalkeeper.

Rangers just couldn’t deal with the lightning reflexes and intelligence of Celtic, with the Bhoys also showing a ruthless edge in the right positions.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Celtic are 5 points clear and set up for another incredible season

After this match, I’m sure Ange Postecoglou will try to keep a lid on the hype at Celtic and insist there’s so much to do before celebrating anything this season. He is, of course, correct.

Although Celtic are five points clear already, we know from last season that it’s really dangerous to start making proclamations about the direction of the league title.

However, it’s also undeniable that the Bhoys look well ahead of Rangers in terms of quality, confidence and squad depth. What Celtic have done over the last six weeks is set themselves up for another brilliant season.

Lots of hard work is ahead. There are much bigger tests are to come in the UEFA Champions League. But it has genuinely been a perfect start to the season, and we can’t ask for more from the players or the manager right now.

In other news, “It’s not that straightforward”; Ange Postecoglou on long-term Oliver Abildgaard Celtic option.