Celtic tonight delivered something Ange Postecoglou has been crying out for

By David Walton

March 2, 2022

Celtic secured a major victory in the title race as they bounced back from Sunday’s draw with Hibs to beat St Mirren 2-0 at Parkhead.

The result ensures the Hoops keep their 3-point lead at the top of the Premiership table. Next up is Livingston at the Tony Macaroni Arena on Sunday, with plenty of expectation and intensity in the air.

Celtic have struggled for form in recent weeks. The truth is that it wasn’t pretty in large spells tonight. The 2-0 success, courtesy of goals from Cameron Carter-Vickers and Callum McGregor, certainly didn’t come easily.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

St Mirren did what many teams have been trying to do to Celtic recently. They flooded their backline and tried to desperately limit the space available to our wide players. The Buddies weren’t interested in coming out and showing any real attacking intent, and the truth is it led to a hugely frustrating opening 45 minutes.

Celtic’s combinations just weren’t clicking in the wide areas. We would often find ourselves failing to read each other’s movements and play. Or, alternatively, we would give the ball away with a slack pass whilst over-complicating our attempts to get the likes of Josip Juranovic and Greg Taylor away.

Ange Postecoglou has, in recent weeks, been absolutely crying out for his team to find in-game solutions without the need of a rollicking from him. It was one of the key messages he pushed after the recent 4-0 Scottish Cup win against Raith Rovers.

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Celtic players answer Ange Postecoglou’s demands

In fairness, the response wasn’t immediate in the second half. Again we weren’t getting our wide players into enough space and the truth is it was only after Carter-Vickers’ opener that things changed for us.

But what we did do was show a lot more intent and looked to move the ball quicker. After the opener, you could see the confidence return to the Hoops. Daizen Maeda had a chance to net immediately after CCV’s goal as an example.

Celtic didn’t overcomplicate things in the second half after they took the lead either. They played their own game whilst there was plenty of off-ball movement that was evident when the game became stretched.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

You also have to say that the introduction of Tom Rogic added something to us in the final third too. St Mirren being a touch more open as they looked to get back into the game also helped with the space in-behind. But it all came about because Celtic were cranking up the pressure before the opener.

That they found the answers without the need for mass changes is a big boost for Ange. It’s something he’s been wanting from his team. Sure, you can say it was only St Mirren at Celtic Park, but these games can get extremely tricky as was evident tonight.

It’s another step in the team’s evolution. Tonight we showed some important title-winning traits, and finding those in-game solutions to win the match was one of them.

In other news, Excellent Carter-Vickers, trio still to click; 3 things we learned as Celtic beat St Mirren