Celtic set a new standard under Postecoglou yesterday; next step is matching it
It wouldn’t be unfair to say that yesterday, Celtic set a new standard for performance in the Ange Postecoglou era.
Would it? From back to front, the Bhoys were phenomenal. Celtic spent the vast majority of the first half dominating Ferencvaros, making the ball work and tiring them out by the whistle.
In the second, that hard work paid off, with the Hungarians looking tired – bereft, even – and incapable of matching Celtic’s energy and aggression.
We often say it after Celtic wins: that could’ve been 4 or 5 nil. And yes, that’s true, because Postecoglou’s Bhoys created their typical smorgasbord of chances [Fotmob].
But there’s something innately satisfying about a commanding 2-0 win. Admittedly, it would’ve been nice to see Callum McGregor’s penalty ripple the net, but can we have any complains whatsoever, overall? I’d argue no.
Given the command Celtic had against Motherwell at the weekend, it appears that Postecoglou’s messages are coming through loud and clear. That seems strange to say after some scintillating early-season shellackings of Dundee and St Mirren. But now, we’re seeing the real fruits of what Postecoglou has done at Celtic.
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It’s not just in attack, it’s in defence. Adam Montgomery didn’t have his best showing last night, but he was still combative and more than useful with a lot of his work on the ball. Ralston was outstanding, and the centre-back pairing is growing in confidence.
It’s not just personnel though. It’s the attitude, the work ethic, the sheer desperation to get the ball back seconds after being dispossessed. You really do get the sense it’s starting to really click for the Bhoys under Ange.
Celtic will need full squad firing to keep up new standard under Postecoglou
What was equally encouraging is that it’s starting to look like Ange Postecoglou has a genuine squad of players to count on now.
Liam Scales, Nir Bitton, Giorgos Giakoumakis and Mikey Johnston all came on to very decent effect yesterday. The manager could name two strikers on the bench, and there are options in just about every position for the manager.
If Postecoglou is going to keep up these kinds of performances, he’ll know it’s about having those options. The wear and tear of a league season has already taken its toll on Celtic. With more fixtures coming in quick succession, it’s a variable the manager will have planned for.
Yet, regardless of who comes on during matches, and who’ll be in and out of the team, the tempo is largely the same. Off the back of three increasingly impressive wins, the prerogative will be to keep standards rising, and put away more of those countless chances we get.
Yesterday, though, across the park? That was undoubtedly the most effective we’ve seen Celtic against quality opposition.
The challenge now is to match it. To keep improving. If we do, then the possibilities are very exciting indeed.