IN THE immediate aftermath of his debut trophy success, new boss Ange Postecoglou refused to get carried away.
The Greek-Australian gaffer remained grounded as he looked to the future.
CQN invites you to take another walk down the Celtic memory lane as we repeat the thoughts and ambitions of Postecoglou 12 months ago. The words are incredibly prophetic.
THREE CHEERS…Ange Postecoglou is flanked by two-goal Kyogo Furuhashi and captain Callum McGregor.
ANGE POSTECOGLOU will prioritise recruits in next month’s transfer window as he plans to build on the weekend Premier Sports League Cup triumph.
The fixtures are coming thick and fast as the Celtic players toil to keep pace with the relentless challenges while the ambitious manager aims for more silverware success.
Postecoglou acknowledges the squad urgently requires strengthening to cope with the avalanche of games with the Greek-Australian gaffer now preparing for the crucial Premiership trip to Paisley to face St Mirren tomorrow night and then he will turn his attention to Perth on Boxing Day for the confrontation with St Johnstone.
THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM…Ange Postecoglou waves to the fans before the dramatic grand finale at Hampden.
With players such as Filipe Jota, Albian Ajeti and Giorgos Giakoumakis already sidelined with a variety of injuries, Postecoglou has vowed to meet and overcome the individual examinations of his squad.
Kyogo Furuhashi, two-goal hero of Hampden, James Forrest, Mikey Johnston and Carl Starfelt have also struggled to maintain full fitness since the campaign’s kick-off back in July.
The Parkhead boss said: “Since the last break, I think we are going to have 13 games in the space of maybe six weeks.
“No other club has that, by the way.
“So, that is going to have an attrition, particularly when we are talking about having a limited squad and limited options.
“We can’t wait to get our players back and, hopefully, some reinforcements in January. And then we can certainly build from here.
“I think it’s too much football, but at the same time, I also understand that we are in Europe, we were in a Cup Final and we have brought it upon ourselves in many respects.
PRIZE GUY…a beaming Ange Postecoglou with the Premier Sports League Cup trophy.
“If we had a more rounded squad, if this team was a year further down the track or two years down the track where we were more settled, then I think we could navigate ourselves to be better off than we are now at the moment.
“But the important thing, don’t forget, is that the resilience we’ve shown is something we’ve got to keep.
“It doesn’t mean it gets any easier when these guys get back. The challenges will still be there, it’ll just be different.
“It’s a credit to the character of the people we’ve got representing this football club at the moment that they have embraced that challenge.
“I guess that’s what you try to instil in the players is to say that, whatever obstacles we have ahead of us and whatever challenges, even the extreme ones we’ve had so far and they have been extreme, we haven’t made excuses.
“We’ve been missing some significant talent in one part of the field. Josip Juranovic played three positions on Sunday. To do all that in the run we’ve been on has just been incredible.”
FALL GUY…David Turnbull receives treatment on his left leg before being forced to quit.
David Turnbull became the latest casualty when his hampden experience was cut short in the 27th minute when he went down with what appeared to be a hamstring pull. The Scotland international midfielder was in tears when he realised his game was over.
Nir Bitton came on, slotted effortlessly into the anchorman role to free skipper Callum McGregor for a more attacking slot. Once again, Postecoglou’s jigsaw paid dividends.
The Hoops gaffer, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “It’s not bad luck. We’re playing too many games.
“People can talk about it as much as they want and, because we don’t have the squad to rotate players at the moment, we are paying the price.
“And we are playing a certain brand of football that puts pressure on players.
“David hasn’t missed a game, so I don’t think it takes too much investigation to understand that his body is fatigued.
ON THE BALL…Mikey Johnston menaces the Hibs rearguard.
“It’s not that it’s a price I’m willing to pay because I don’t want players to get injured, but I didn’t want to compromise our football and take the foot off the pedal because I knew there were going to be this many games.
“I just figured: ‘Well, let’s just go for it and we hope to hang on until the break’.”
“You can’t hold back. It’s all-in or nothing and I’ve said that to them from day one. Whether it’s training or playing, you’ve got to be totally into this.
“Mikey Johnston is nowhere near 100 per cent fit, but I thought he was outstanding against Hibs, real maturity from him to put his injury to one side and contribute to the team. There are a lot of those examples.
“David has been unbelievable for us. Not just the quality of his play, but he is playing every game.
“I’m putting him out there every time because we need him and we don’t have a lot of options there.
“I was gutted for him because he deserved to be out there at the end, but, hopefully, it is nothing too significant and we will get him back pretty quickly.”
Celtic take on the Easter Road outfit, with ex-Celt Shaun Maloney installed as their new manager on a three-and-a-half year deal yesterday, at Parkhead a week tonight before hosting Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Ibrox side four days later for the first game of 2022.
A welcome 20-day break then will kick in before the Scottish Cup opener at Alloa on January 22.
It looks more than likely that there will be some feverish transfer activity between the two encounters.