Anthony Ralston delivers class response to being dropped for Celtic cup final

By David Walton

January 2, 2022

Celtic right-back Anthony Ralston has delivered the perfect response after being queried about his cup final omission last month.

Ralston has been a stalwart under Ange Postecoglou this season in what’s become a true renaissance year for him. The Lennoxtown academy graduate has featured 31 times already this year and we’re only halfway through the campaign [Transfermarkt].

However, Ange surprised many when he dropped his star man for the League Cup final against Hibernian a fortnight ago. Indeed, Ralston was omitted whilst Josip Juranovic took his right-back spot. Greg Taylor featured at left-back, with Ralston only being given his opportunity to feature in the final 15 minutes as a sub.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The comeback talent has been reflecting on that moment in the press, and it’s fair to say it’s hardly something that bothers him as he outlined his commitment to the collective cause.

As quoted by the Scottish Sun, Ralston said: “These things happen but you can’t get too high on the highs or low on the lows. We’re all together now as a team. It’s not about me or any other individuals. We got success from that day which is the main thing. We won as a team that was the mentality I had that day at Hampden.

“Listen, I’ll have lots of ups and downs in my career — it’s never going to be plain sailing. But I’ve learned that you need to stay positive through it all. You have to keep working and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”

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Anthony Ralston puts collective Celtic over self-importance

It was a surprise to see Ralston drop out that day. He had just netted a huge winner at Ross County 4 days previously. You could say that if anyone was on cloud nine at that point, it was him. Surely, then, he would’ve been the ideal player to have in your team for the final.

In the end, Ange got his team spot-on. He was bold, decisive, and got the job done as he secured his first trophy as manager of the club.

It’s not as if he didn’t give Ralston an opportunity to savour that Hampden feeling either. The game was still well alive when Anthony came on for the final 15 minutes. He was part of the Celtic side that had to see the game out. And it’s fair to say he did his job as reliably as you would expect.

Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Most importantly, however, the right-back has shown here a desire to put his team first. He barely dwells on the fact he didn’t start the game. He doesn’t even question it. He’s showing total faith and backing in his manager, and that’s something that Postecoglou will find invaluable from his players.

It was no surprise to see Ralston tossed right back in for the 0-0 draw at St Mirren 3 days later. But even for many players it would only have irked them further to have missed the cup final only to play in a routine league game several days afterward.

Ralston’s attitude, however, defies that notion. Massive credit to him. You can tell he’s cherishing every minute of his time in the first-team squad this season. And if he keeps progressing at his current rate, there will be plenty of cup finals around the corner.

In other news, The current Aaron Hickey transfer state of play as summer Celtic target kicks on