Ange details what he expects from Hibs as Celtic look to protect perfect 2022 streak
Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou has a couple of very important things he wants to protect as the Hoops gear up to face Hibs at Easter Road tomorrow.
Firstly, a lead at the top of the table. Celtic can, albeit briefly, go 6 points ahead at the Scottish Premiership summit with a win over Maloney’s side. That, and a perfect run of domestic form; 26 games unbeaten, and nothing but domestic wins since the start of 2022.
It’s inspiring form. However, the Celtic boss isn’t getting ahead of himself, facing a side who are starting to turn something of a corner under ex-Celt Maloney.
The Hibees await Celtic off the back of two consecutive wins, in the Scottish Cup and in the league. With the Scottish Premiership being so tight at the time of writing [BBC], there’s more than enough incentive for Hibs tomorrow.
Ange Postecoglou said [Scottish Daily Mail, print edition, p.120]: “I think when you look at the league in general it’s become pretty tight now.
“There are not too many teams that hit a consistent run of results. [Hibs] are in a similar boat but they are still in a good position in the league because it’s so tight. We have to expect it’s going to be a tough game. It always is when you are away from home.
“We’ve just got to make sure we perform well.”
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou is well-versed in Hibs meetings by now
A lot has changed under new Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou, particularly compared to last season.
Celtic beating Hibs with relative regularity is very much one of those things. In 3 meetings with the Hibees so far this season, Ange Postecoglou has come out with the win. Two meetings in the league have resulted in 2-goal cushions, while the Premier Sports Cup final was a more intense affair.
Easter Road has, typically, been one of those archetypal “tough place to go” type of venues in the last decade or so. However, regardless of how motivated Hibs are, it’s Celtic who carry the form into this game.
Given Celtic’s team selection against Bodo/Glimt the other night, you could argue that Postecoglou was prioritising tomorrow’s game. In a way, it makes sense, although that certainly clashes with what Ange has said about progressing in Europe. And, indeed, competing across all fronts.
However, the league is most certainly the priority for a lot of supporters this season. Beating fourth-placed Hibs away from home, maybe even repeating our performance at Easter Road in October, would send out a message. Plenty will be watching and hoping for a Celtic slip-up in Leith.
That absolutely cannot happen. Ange knows that.
Still, he’s expecting a tussle, and he’s likely to get one. It was actually Hibs who dominated possession and made more passes than Celtic in our last battle [Fotmob].
Disrupting Maloney’s side will be imperative.