ANGE POSTECOGLOU has admitted yet again he is paying absolutely no heed to outside noise as he steers Celtic towards their second successive Premiership title.
The Hoops boss responded to midweek comments from Michael Beale when the Ibrox gaffer confessed “the probability is low” of his team clawing back the champions’ nine-point advantage.
Postecoglou insisted he is concentrating totally on this afternoon’s visit of Aberdeen and said bluntly: “We’ve got to win. That’s all. If we win all of our games, we don’t have to worry about anything else or anyone else or what anyone else is saying or forecasting in terms of percentages.
TITLE TARGET…Ange Postecoglou repeats what Celtic must do to win a second successive crown.
“If we win every game between now and the end of the year, here’s a percentage for you – 100 per cent we will win the league.
“So, why would we think beyond that? For us, beating Aberdeen gets us three points and if we get those three points we know where we’re going to be sitting in the table.
“I’ve said before that my role in all of that is that we want to finish the season strong. Stronger than how we started.”
Postecoglou has the opportunity to get his hands on the first silverware of the campaign when the holders face their Govan rivals in the Viaplay League Cup Final a week tomorrow.
However, the 57-year-old Greek-Australian stressed no-one at the club is even thinking of the Hampden occasion and, speaking to the Daily Record, stated: “The players here understand that being part of this football club means that every game has a consequence.
“The last thing we want to do is not play to our ability, not have a good game and not get the right result as that’s not a great lead-up to any game, let alone a Cup Final.
”The players at the moment seem really focused. They want to play. They are all putting their hands up. Whoever will start will want to do well and will want to make sure they stay in the team.”
MY WORD…Ange Postecoglou looks thoughtful at the media conference.
South Korean new Bhoy Oh Hyeon-gyu scored his first goal – and the Hoops’ 100th of the crusade – following his substitute appearance in the 5-1 Scottish Cup win over St Mirren a week ago and Postecoglou is satisfied with the 21-year-old powerhouse’s progress.
The boss continued: “He’s doing everything we’re asking him. Getting stronger every week.
“Obviously, he’s come into a new environment and even the way we train and everything will be different. He needs to take in information, but we’ve tried to sort of be selective in terms of how to use him and when to use him.
“I think in every game that he’s come on he’s made an impact one way or the other.
“Naturally, scoring a goal was a positive. Whenever we do choose to start him, it’s going to be a challenge for him in terms of his fitness because he hasn’t started a game for quite a long time.
“But when I think he’s ready we’ll throw him in and I’m sure he will acquit himself well.”
Doubts about the fitness of main man Kyogo Furuhashi have been dispelled, as CQN reported yesterday.
BACK IN ACTION…Kyogo Furuhashi could face Aberdeen today after his shoulder injury scare against St Mirren a week ago. On this occasion, the striker salutes the Celtic fans after his goal in the 3-0 win over Livingston. Filipe Jota offers his congratulations.
There were fears the 22-goal Japanese hitman may be sidelined for a spell after a shoulder injury curtailed his input against the Paisley side to 14 minutes, but he is fit and available if he is required against the Pittodrie outfit.
Postecoglou confirmed Kyogo is “fine” and added: “Last year, he had a similar thing and I think he missed one training session. We knew it wasn’t anything serious.
“He did some rehab earlier in the week, but he’s trained the last two days and is ready to go.”
Midfielder David Turnbull, though, will miss out after sustaining a knock against Stephen Robinson’s side last weekend. It is not thought to be serious.
* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v Aberdeen this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.