"The whole of the UK watching" Ange picks out his best 45 minutes as Celtic boss
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has stated that his side’s best 45 minutes of the season came against Rangers.
The 3-0 win over our Ibrox foes saw us sweep them away in a high-quality first half. A brace from Reo Hatate was added to by Liel Abada to secure a memorable 3 points for Celtic in the middle of an electric atmosphere.
Celtic have still put in some terrific performances elsewhere this season. The stunning first 45 at Easter Road back in October or even the brilliant dismantling of Ross County on Saturday would also be right up there. Let’s also not forget we were 4-0 up on St Mirren back in August by half-time too.
But Ange believes everything about the Rangers win in terms of build-up and meaning ensures that it’s the best 45 minutes of football he’s seen from his Celtic side.
Speaking in an interview with Optus Sport, Ange said: “Yeah, in the context of the game and what it meant, for us that was quite an important moment. It was the first time for our fans, after last year they obviously weren’t in the stands and they were back, it was such a big night.
“For that group of players, I think we only had two or three in the starting lineup who played the year before, so it was literally a new team rolling out there. The way they handled themselves in that whole 90 minutes. The first 45 was great because we scored but even in the second half where we knew Rangers would come at us, I thought the players just handled the occasion really well.
“That gives you belied as a group. They walked out of that thinking ok we’ve gone to a game with massive expectations, the whole of the UK watching us because it was the only game on TV that night and they’ve come out of it feeling like we can handle ourselves at this level. From that point of view, it was pleasing and our football was pretty good I thought. Most of the first 45 our football was decent.”
Celtic blowing Rangers away symbolic of the progress made by Ange
Celtic mauling Rangers was something the football club needed. We all went into that game hoping we could get the job done and take 3 points. But to do so in the manner we did really did provide supporters with the boost we needed as a club.
Of course, it didn’t mean we were suddenly better than our rivals. It didn’t mean we were suddenly in a position to overthrow them. But it gave us a platform. It gave us belief. And perhaps most importantly of all, it gave us a lead in the title race.
There was something perfect about the symbolism of that night. Watching a stale Rangers side crumble under the pressure and atmosphere at Parkhead was beautiful in itself. But seeing how the Celtic players in particular stood up to the challenge was fulfilling as a supporters.
What Ange and Celtic have done very well since then is kick on of course. We haven’t used that match as an excuse to sit back and put the feet up. Far from it. We’ve kicked on and now sit 3 points clear with only 6 league matches reamining.
Things are getting exciting now. Celtic are closing in on the Premiership title, and if we achieve it, that clash with Rangers is the fixture we’ll look back on with sheer pride.