What Chris Sutton has learned about Ange's Celtic; praises star man

By Euan Davidson

December 18, 2021

Chris Sutton has been left impressed by the grit and mental fortitude of Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic in recent games.

Postecoglou’s Bhoys team have found ways to win despite the odds, of late. Against Real Betis, the manager fielded an extremely young team, but beat Spain’s third-best side 3-2. Without a recognised striker against Motherwell, Celtic won 1-0; it could’ve been four or five.

And the best demonstration of that mental toughness was, of course, a last-gasp win over Ross County. Despite being a man down late on, Celtic stayed true to Postecoglou’s tactical vision, and found a late winner to spark pandemonium in Dingwall, and in livings rooms.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Sutton has been left buoyed by the character Celtic have shown. And, he had praise for a player who’s epitomised Ange’s attitude.

In his Daily Record column, he wrote [Daily Record]: “This past week has shown us that Postecocoglou’s team can dig deep.

“They have basically played the last two games against Motherwell and Ross County without a single striker and they have found a way. The way they got it done in stoppage time with only 10 men on the park in Dingwall shows their courage and willingness to fight through a dodgy situation to emerge on top.

“Anthony Ralston was a fitting scorer. No one epitomises a never-say-die attitude more than him and the way he has grown having been written off at the start of the season mirrors that of his team.

“Celtic have shown they have steel to go with their style and they might need it again at Hampden depending on who they can get onto the pitch.”

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Chris Sutton pleased by Celtic battlers under Ange Postecoglou

These are very fair comments to make. Certainly, Ange’s style and the aesthetic values of his football weren’t really in doubt. When Celtic played well this season, it was with an undeniable penache.

It wasn’t 100% successful, though. Especially in Europe, and there were questions about the fitness and mental stamina of the group. Especially after conceding late goals against Bayer Leverkusen, understandable as it was.

But Celtic have added some real resilience of late. It’s been needed, with a tough run of games and an injury list that looks surreal.

Photo by Ross Kinnaird/ALLSPORT

Sutton played in sides with both technical brilliance and steely determination to see out results. Martin O’Neill’s sides were the epitome of that; playing with freedom, but also not giving an inch and playing every single second of games with ruthlessness and determination.

Ideally, Celtic won’t have to “dig deep” tomorrow. In the first half against Hibs at Easter Road in October [BBC], the Hoops played with such verve and dominance that the game was essentially over by half-time.

Cup Finals, though, are different. But if we can take anything away from the last run of games, it’s this: Celtic are more than up for the fight. Chris Sutton knows that, and so will the Bhoys.

Read more: Callum McGregor explains the worst thing Celtic can do in build-up to final