Kyogo return verdict, title charge on; 3 things we learned as Celtic go 6 clear
Celtic have ended the weekend six points clear of Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premiership after a 2-0 win over Ross County this afternoon.
After the Ibrox side won away to Motherwell yesterday, Ange Postecoglou and the Bhoys knew there was no room for error today.
Thankfully the team found a way to victory through the returning Kyogo Furuhashi, whose towering header in the first half sent us on the way.
Jota then scored a late second to ensure there would be no last gasp drama in Dingwall this time.
What did we take from the match? Here are three of the talking points…
Kyogo is ready to perform for Celtic, but…
Kyogo was electric in the first half today. Not only did he expertly link up with Jota’s cross to send the Bhoys ahead, but he was a thorn in the side of Ross County for the entire 45 minutes.
He hit the bar, he had a goal disallowed and there was another chance he really should have buried.
It shows he is ready to perform for Celtic from the start of a match – although as became apparent in the second half he doesn’t have a full 90 minute in him yet.
He dropped out of the game after half-time and Postecoglou is clearly still managing his fitness a bit with his substitution off after 64 minutes.
One thing we know for sure is that Kyogo can and, likely will, play a massive role for the Bhoys in the final four games of the season.
Celtic have ‘the bottle’
There was some absurd punditry and commentary going around Scottish football this week about Celtic’s mentality to do what they’ve actually been doing all season in the league – winning.
It’s not going to be pretty all of the time. I’m sure many Celtic fans had a sense of trepidation in that second half. Ross County came into the game, even if they didn’t create a number of glaring chances.
This is how it’s going to be when there’s so much to play for. It’s that ‘natural tension’ I raised with the manager in the pre-match press conference this week.
The important thing is this team keep finding ways to win and ultimately that’s what has us in such a strong position to go on and become champions again.
Defensive resilience again
If the first half was all about the nice combinations between Jota, Kyogo and Daizen Maeda, then Celtic’s defensive came to the fore again in the second.
Cameron Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt were composed through. The USA international made a crucial block in the box too.
Greg Taylor was also a fantastic competitor today, with his teammate on the opposite flank Anthony Ralston getting the job.
Don’t get me wrong, County never had us under the cosh but that was in part thanks to the defensive unit staying strong and making smart decisions.
Full credit to them for yet another clean sheet in the league.
In other news, Ange Postecoglou addresses Nir Bitton’s Celtic absences.