The no-nonsense Ange Postecoglou move that won Celtic today's game
Celtic’s 2-0 win over Ross County was undoubtedly a fine team performance on the day, but one moment in the game defined the result in the end.
At face value it looks like a comfortable success for the Hoops. However, that doesn’t tell the full story. For long spells, the game felt as though it had a sting in the tale. As it took Celtic until 87 minutes to wrap up the win, nerves weren’t eased until the closing stages.
Even though Jota’s late strike came after a prolonged period of pressure from the Hoops, that was only because Ange changed how the game was going with 25 minutes to go.
The Bhoys didn’t start the second half well enough. We were giving the ball away too easily and were inviting County up the pitch. More and more crosses started coming into the penalty area that had to be repelled. Even though Joe Hart didn’t have much in the way of big saves to make, the flow of the game was becoming a concern.
This was down to the fact that Matt O’Riley’s influence on breaking the play up was waning whilst Daizen Maeda and Kyogo were struggling to make an impact in the opposition half. The latter pair looked a touch jaded as the game entered the closing stages.
Ange didn’t waste time in making the amendments he felt were necessary. Off came all 3 with Tom Rogic, Liel Abada, and Giorgos Giakoumakis bringing fresh legs into our work in the final third.
Ange’s changes allowed Celtic to regain control
All of a sudden, Abada’s fresh pace was causing a real issue for County on the counter. Rogic, meanwhile, was bursting a gut with some advancing runs beyond the Staggies defence. As for Giakoumakis, his hold-up play was exactly what the doctor ordered as it helped Celtic build more sustained periods of pressure.
It was extremely reassuring as a Celtic supporter to see Ange make such swift changes. Too often in the past have we had managers wait too long to make the right decision as they showed fear when it came to being ruthless. Ange, however, is quite happy to make the tough choices if it’s for the good of the team.
Had he not made that triple sub, the tempo of the game would never have changed. All it would’ve taken was a County ball into the box and a Jordan White header for things to get complicated. Ange knew with 25 minutes remaining that there were several areas of the pitch that needed refreshing.
It’s terrific to see that he didn’t try and integrate those changes gradually. Had he only brought on Rogic, for example, Celtic may still have looked a touch jaded in the final third. Had he only thrown on Giakoumakis, our midfield may very well have still been missing in the closing stages.
The manager would continue to make changes in the final 20 minutes with David Turnbull and James Forrest coming on. Once again, it was another example of him making all 5 of the subs available to him for the betterment of the team.
These kinds of changes only help the support trust the manager more. Seeing these in-game moves reflects well on Ange, and the fact it worked to perfection today is another boost. Had he sat waiting a touch longer, who knows what could’ve happened?