Celtic boss Postecoglou praises right-back Anthony Ralston; contract talks ahead

By Euan Davidson

October 27, 2021

Anthony Ralston isn’t thinking about his contract, says Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou, and instead he’s focussing on improving.

That’s what Postecoglou has said, anyway. The Scottish 22-year-old right-back has enjoyed an incredible renaissance this season under the new manager. Picked repeatedly during a time in which Celtic were failing to land a new full-back, Ralston has used the time as a massive opportunity.

Now, he’s inarguably one of our best performers this season. WhoScored? even have him as the Scottish Premiership’s top performer.

With his contract running out in the summer of 2022, though, Ralston needs to sign a new deal with Celtic if we’re to hold on to the resurgent star. But talk of contract extensions matters little to the player himself, in a positive way, insists Ange Postecoglou.

The Celtic manager said [Daily Record]:

“I don’t think he’s thinking about contracts. The important thing for Tony is to keep doing what he’s doing. Every week he works hard and wants to improve. He’s having an impact in games.

“Like all footballers, when they do those things, the rest of it takes care of itself, contract issues and all that kind of stuff. I’m sure he’ll get rewarded.

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“Other people might have a different opinion of him, but, from the moment I walked in, all I’ve seen is a footballer who’s really eager to learn. He really wanted an opportunity and really wanted to take it. As a manager, that’s what you are looking for.

“Sometimes in a football career when there’s uncertainty or it looks like something could be taken away from you, getting a second bite at it makes you even more determined to get it right.

“He’s done everything right so far. I think there’s more to come.”

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou and his praise for Anthony Ralston sum up tenure so far

The good thing about bringing in a manager without any preconceived notions about a squad? Well, there’s plenty. But chief amongst the advantages is that he’ll see things others don’t.

Sadly, a manager used to Scottish football might not have gambled on Anthony Ralston having a break-out season in the Hoops. Postecoglou, judging by training and performances alone, has stuck with the right-back.

That’s paid off in a significant way.

It’s reasonable that there might’ve been concerns about Ange Postecoglou’s ability to assess our squad in the context of Scottish football. However, he didn’t. He assessed in terms of how good it can be on even bigger stages.

Far from being myopic, Postecoglou has made choices that a Jack Ross or even an Eddie Howe wouldn’t have. One of those is putting faith in a good trainer like Ralston, and letting him flourish even when a top-class right-back has been brought in.

The contract stuff? If Ralston wants to keep improving and playing for a manager with the utmost respect and ambition for him, he’ll surely sign a new deal with his boyhood club.

Until then, the manager’s right. It’s about performance. A starring role against Hibs tonight would only help.

Read more: Celtic midfielder James McCarthy “training well” after injury return