Bhoys patience, Ange brilliantly calls his shot; 3 things we learned from Celtic semi-final win

By John McGinley

November 20, 2021

Celtic are through to the final of the Scottish League Cup after a hard-earned 1-0 win against St Johnstone at Hampden.

On a night of high emotion for supporters, who stunningly paid tribute to Lisbon Lion Bertie Auld on a number of occasions, Celtic finally managed to break down the Perth side thanks to super substitute James Forrest.

It wasn’t a classic Celtic performance, but it was enough. And in a tense semi-final for a new team, that’s absolutely fine. What did we learn from the encounter?

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Ange called his Forrest impact

It was simply fantastic to see club servant Forrest come into the game and punish St Johnstone. It’s something he’s done many times down the years. They must absolutely hate him at McDiarmid Park.

Luckily for us he provided the kind of contribution that Ange Postecoglou effectively predicted in his pre-match press conference.

The Australian spoke excitedly about the progress of Forrest in training, to the extent I thought that the Scotland international was going to start the match.

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The Bhoys boss said: “James is going well, he’s had a good 2 weeks of training. He’s at really good levels now. Without pre-empting anything, knock on wood, he’s trained really well.

“He’s probably in the best condition he’s been since I got here. I’m very pleased because I’ve been really keen to get him involved.”

It was likely always the intention to let Forrest loose on a tiring St Johnstone defence and find the bit of space required to finally break them down.

Ange called his shot here and it’s Celtic who benefit.

We’re learning to be patient about Celtic

Today was a tough encounter for Celtic. For large periods of the game it looked like it might be a long night that result in extra-time.

However, I never really truly worried that we would lose the match. I am beginning to have faith and patience in this team to do what is required to win.

That now nine games unbeaten in all competitions. Some matches have been electric, others have been tough to watch, but it’s all moving forward in a positive direction.

Even when it’s a struggle, this team are turning into winners and that’s the attribute that ultimately wins you trophies. I’m excited about the final against Hibernian or Rangers.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Another sign of improvement on last season

Last season Celtic successfully got over the line in the previous campaign’s Scottish Cup, but we were poor in the 2020/21 competitions.

Reaching a final is a tangible sign of progress for the Ange Postecoglou project. He’s only been in the door for a matter of months but already we’re knocking on the door of a major honour.

St Johnstone were the holders of this cup and they were never going to give it up easily. We’ve managed to overcome their determined football and book a date with destiny. That shouldn’t go underrated.

In other news, Video: The Green Brigade’s stunning Hampden Celtic display tonight.