Ange's Kyogo and O'Riley remarks are a slap in the face for Celtic rivals
One of the more interesting remarks to come out of Ibrox yesterday was Ange Postecoglou’s reasons for not playing Kyogo or keeping Matt O’Riley on the park.
Many believed Kyogo was set to make his derby bow either from the starting XI or from the bench. In the end, he wasn’t in the matchday squad. Ange’s reason? Celtic didn’t need him.
The same goes for Matt O’Riley who suffered a knock and came off against the Ibrox side 14 minutes after coming on as a substitute. Again, Postecoglou told Celtic TV that O’Riley could’ve played on, but that he didn’t feel he had to risk it.
Ange likely doesn’t mean anything more by it. He’s likely just giving his honest verdict as to why he shielded both men. With some big games coming up, we’ve no doubt the manager was keeping his eye on what’s to come.
However, at the same time, he’s turning around here and saying that we don’t need 2 of our best signings to play in order to beat Rangers. That we can happily safeguard some of our top talents and still have enough in our tank to get the job done. And on Rangers’ own turf too.
It’s a major knock to their pride. Especially with the incessant amount of talk over whether Alfredo Morelos would’ve changed the game. Celtic actually had the option of playing their first-choice striker and chose not to. And even worse for Rangers, it proved to be the right decision.
Celtic squad depth on full show at Ibrox – Rangers left with absolutely no answer
Think back 6 months ago. We would never have even had to think twice about the opportunity of playing our top players even if they were carrying a knock. The truth is it was that approach that eventually led to Kyogo and David Turnbull experiencing burnout.
Now, we have several options in every position, and it showed at Ibrox. Ange brought on all 5 substitutes and it’s fair to say every one of them was a reliable name. Matt O’Riley, Nir Bitton, Anthony Ralston, David Turnbull, and Liel Abada all came on from the sidelines.
Celtic’s strength in depth is now in the outrageous category. Helped of course by the fact that we have next to no injury problems anymore. Oh, how the tables have turned compared to the first half of the year.
Celtic have now gone 32 games unbeaten domestically. Managing to do that whilst both building and managing an injury-hit squad is incredible. It’s so easy to forget that this is only Ange’s debut season too.
Rangers were left with no answer to the power Celtic had on the pitch and on the bench. There’s now a clear difference between the pair and it’s in the direction of the Hoops.
Ange will have a heck of a task strengthening it this summer when the time comes. Considering he’s able to leave top players out against Rangers and still get the job done? That says a lot about how far we’ve come this season alone.