ANGE POSTECOGLOU could send out his Celtic players to “really go for the jugular” in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden on Sunday.
That’s the verdict of former Hoops and Scotland international midfielder Kris Commons who reckons the Greek-Australian could set his game plan after his opponents’ Europa League quarter-final second leg clash against Sporting Braga at Ibrox.
The Portuguese are leading 1-0 from last week’s match and an exacting evening could be ahead for Giovanni van Bronckhorst and his players.
The Hoops have already overcome their city neighbours in two successive encounters, racing to a 3-0 victory in February and claiming ta comeback triumph in a 2-1 success in Govan last weekend.
FRIENDLY FIRE…Ange Postecoglou and Giovanni van Bronckhorst after Celtic’s win at Ibrox.
Postecoglou has already plotted the team’s course towards the title as they lead by six points with five games to go and the Premier Sports League Cup was won against Hibs six days before Christmas.
Now he has sights on the Scottish Cup and is just one game away from what could be a phenomenal grand finale to his first season in Scotland.
Commons said: “Celtic ‘s ruthless performance in beating St Johnstone 7-0 on Saturday was pretty ominous for Rangers.
“Ange Postecoglou isn’t looking for his side to tip-toe over the line in this title race.
“He is wanting to send out a real, clear message to the rest of the league that Celtic are on top form right now and peaking at exactly the right time of the season.
“You can only imagine they are going to get even better with more time on the training ground and building better relationships on and off the park.
“It’s pretty remarkable where they are right now. The future looks really bright.”
TWIN THREAT…Reo Hatate and Daizen Maeda celebrate after the 3-0 win in February – both could figure in the semi-final.
Commons, speaking to the Daily Mail, continued: “Some have even suggested that Celtic looked like they did at their peak under Brendan Rodgers. That’s a compliment to Postecoglou as much as it is to Rodgers.
“Brendan’s time at Celtic was incredible, but he probably had a little bit more money at his disposal than the Australian. That just shows you how good a job he’s doing.
“But nothing’s won yet. There’s still a job to be done and his main objective will be to keep these high standards going right until the end of the season.
“Celtic are going for the treble, but they’re also going for a treble of wins over Rangers at Celtic Park, Ibrox and Hampden.”
CUP THAT CHEERS…Filipe Jota could revel in the spaces at Hampden on Sunday.
Former Hoops fans’ favourite Commons added: “They’ll be keeping half an eye on Rangers to see how much energy they expend against Braga in the Europa League on Thursday night.
“If Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men have a tough evening, Postecoglou might change his plans and really go for the jugular even more than normal. If Rangers play extra-time, he may look at injecting extra pace in wide areas.
“Ange has never been one for defending. He won’t be looking to creep over the line in the Scottish Cup, either. He’ll be looking to blow Rangers away. Looking to win emphatically with entertaining, attacking football in the Celtic tradition.
“And if Celtic can maintain their recent form, they should do that.”