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Ange Postecoglou hails Celtic character after Old Firm win

Ange Postecoglou proud of his Celtic players after Ibrox win (Steve Welsh/PA)
Ange Postecoglou proud of his Celtic players after Ibrox win (Steve Welsh/PA)

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou hailed his players’ character after their 2-1 comeback win over Rangers at Ibrox took them six points clear at the top of the cinch Premiership.

The Hoops got off to the worst possible start when Aaron Ramsey put the Light Blues ahead in the third minute but the Parkhead side responded almost immediately with midfielder Tom Rogic levelling four minutes later.

Celtic, with just 700 fans allowed in the stadium to back them, then took control and defender Cameron Carter-Vickers fired them ahead just before the break and the visitors withstood some heavy pressure in the second half – albeit they had chances to stretch their lead – for the victory which confirmed a 12-point swing in the title race this season.

The Parkhead side are also 16 goals better off than Rangers and while Postecoglou would only say the victory took Celtic “three points closer” to the title, he revealed pride in their performance.

He said: “I’m really proud of the players. It was a proper derby, both teams were at it and they obviously got off to a great start and the crowd was up for it.

“To come back from that and show the resilience we did, we played ourselves back into the game and got ahead.

“Then the character in the second half to defend as we did, like I said I’m really proud.

“This group of players just really believes in what we’re trying to create here.

“I thought when we needed to we found the football to get us back in the game.”

Postecoglou praised the role of captain Callum McGregor, playing in a protective mask due to a facial injury, whose bustling effort helped set up Rogic’s equaliser.

“Callum was just outstanding as a leader,” he said. “His role in that first goal, particularly, was brilliant.

“But we didn’t settle for that. We went and got our second goal.

“Second half we had to defend but I thought we defended really well with the balls in the box.

“But we showed real courage and put our bodies on the line, Joe (Hart) made a couple of good saves. We also had good chances to seal it at the other end.

“So, it wasn’t the start you want but if you want to reveal character you reveal it in the most difficult of circumstances and that happened today. I thought you saw the character of this group.”

Postecoglou also pointed out Celtic’s recovery from a sticky start to the season just after he took over as boss to the point where their last domestic defeat came against Livingston in September.

The former Australia boss said: “We’ve just got to keep doing what we’ve been doing.

“We’re in this position for a reason and the main reason is the value of this group of players, the resilience they have.

“After six games we’d lost three and we were still putting a team together.

“But at no stage did I make excuses or any allowances for them. They accepted the challenge ahead of them.

“We’ve got to this point because of what you saw today. Our football’s been great but there’s a real abundance of character within the group.”

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