AFTER an opening day defeat it would’ve been easy for Celtic to stagger back to finding their form. But they’ve achieved quite the opposite after recording their second consecutive 6-0 league win as they brushed aside ten-man St Mirren.
And it appears Ange Postecoglou’s relentless mentality for the way he wants the Hoops to play is starting to pay off.
Here’s five things we learned from the 6-0 win over St Mirren.
Celtic are reaping rewards of Postecoglou mentality
Celtic look a completely different side even from their first outing in the Scottish Premiership in the narrow 2-1 loss to Hearts.
Postecoglou now has his side riled up and tireless in their search for goals, regardless of how far ahead they already are.
The comfortable win over St Mirren was a formality after just 30 minutes.
Three goals to the good and with a man advantage the Hoops could’ve coasted to victory. But instead they continued to threaten the St Mirren goal with a barrage of attacks and could’ve had even more than the six they ended with. If Postecoglou can keep that mentality in the side then it’ll definitely not be the last big win at Parkhead this term.
Even more exciting for the fans will be the options on the bench to bring on when already comfortably taking the three points.
Tom Rogic will have been the last person the tired Buddies players will have wanted to see warming up when already 5-0 down, and Ismaila Soro and Albian Ajeti coming only further highlighted the quality in the Celtic squad.
Patience is key
It seems silly to even suggest that patience is needed after a 6-0 drubbing and match won before even breaking a sweat.
But it’s an a different kind of patience that Celtic need, and indeed showed in the Parkhead rout.
As aforementioned above, Postecoglou’s methods see his side pressing high and non-stop in their quest for goals, but just as important is taking the time to find the right opportunities. And that’s the more impressive takeaway from Saturday’s result.
Celtic were quick to recover the ball but were more than happy to move the ball around in the final third and drag the opposition defence all over the place before picking the killer ball.
Whether it was a cross from the wing, an invitation to shoot from range or a defence-splitting through ball; the Hoops made the right decisions at the right times and it paid off.
No greater test of their ability to keep cool in the final third will come than at Ibrox next week. With the atmosphere ramped up and the often increased tempo of a derby, it is often just a case of forcing the ball forward, but if they can avoid that then you’d have to think better chances would be the end result.
Greg Taylor is a player reinvigorated
So much has been made of Anthony Ralston’s form in the opening stages of this season, and rightly so. The full-back has been immense and performed above any expectations as he powered through being the only right-back at the club. The arrival of Josip Juranovic will likely see his place in the team under threat, but Ralston has been inspirational on his return to the Celtic first-team.
Less has been made of Greg Taylor sharp turn in form under Postecoglou.
Challenged to play an inverted full-back role under Postecoglou which placed greater emphasis on his range of passing and ability in the centre of the park; Taylor has excelled.
Against St Mirren he was everywhere, be it standing up a cross the back post for Abada’s second goal or stepping into the midfield and spreading the play with a number of pinpoint passes. There was even the occasion where he made a darting run in behind the St Mirren defence to grant the midfield space on the edge of the area.
It’s been a superb adaptation to his usual left-back role and may just be getting the best out of the defender.
Spoilt for choice on Thursday
All eyes are now on the second-leg Europa League paly-off with AZ Alkmaar.
The Hoops take a 1-0 lead to the Netherlands and Postecoglou has a selection headache of the best kind ahead of the crucial encounter.
Liel Abada looks like a must-start after another thrilling performance while the midfield three of Callum McGregor, David Turnbull and Ryan Christie looked to have forged a tremendous understanding.
The main decision for Postecoglou will likely come up top. It’s simple, Kyogo or Edouard. The Frenchman was on the scoresheet on Saturday and Kyogo put in a solid display from the wing but seemed less effective than when thrown in through the middle.
Should Edouard miss out it could also open up a space for James Forrest to return to the starting line-up.
We have a title fight on our hands
In pre-season every prediction seemed to have Rangers topping the table, but Postecoglou’s men may shift some opinion if they continue their top quality performances in coming weeks.
The Old Firm derby on Sunday will be the first marker between the teams, currently occupying fourth and fifth in the table, and could lay down a marker that it won’t be easy for Rangers to claim back-to-back league titles even despite Celtic’s major summer shake-up.