MICHAEL BEALE has praised Celtic’s achievement of winning back-to-back titles.
The Ibrox boss acknowledged the feat of the champions following the Hoops’ 2-0 win over Hearts at Tynecastle yesterday that sealed their eleventh flag in 12 years.
Beale was speaking after his side had beaten Aberdeen 1-0 at home in a meaningless encounter with Ange Postecoglou’s men 13 points ahead with only four games to play.
THE VICTORS AND THE VANQUISHED…Filipe Jota races away in triumph after heading in the Scottish Cup semi-final winner. Goalkeeper Allan McGregor and his defenders have that familiar sinking feeling.
The Englishman, who arrived in Govan in November following the sacking of Giovanni van Bronckhorst, said: “The table doesn’t lie.
“Our league form’s been outstanding since November, but we’ve not been able to get close to them, so credit to them.”
Beale, speaking to Sky Sports, added: “It’s important we come back next year and make a bigger challenge. I think at both ends of the pitch they’ve been a bit more decisive and in the one-off games they’ve found a way to beat us.
“It doesn’t taste too good, but we have to assess and be honest in our feedback in terms of recruitment and the improvements we need to make.
“In the league, in the main, I’ve been pleased, but on the big days this team’s failed to get the results we’re all craving.”
Beale has faced Postecoglou – the manager he labelled “a lucky man” earlier this year – four times and is still waiting for a victory.
GUARD OF HONOUR…Aberdeen players line up as Callum McGregor leads out Celtic with the Premiership silverware before the opening league game of the season on July 31. The Hoops won 2-0 on their way to back-to-back titles.
The best he has managed is a 2-2 home draw on January 2, but sampled defeat in the League Cup Final at Hampden the following month when Kyogo Furuhashi rifled two goals behind Allan McGregor in a 2-1 triumph.
There were two defeats last month with the Japanese striker again snapping up a double in the Hoops’ 3-2 league win at Parkhead. Filipe Jota rolled in the third and winning goal to push the title kings 12 points clear.
And it was the Portuguese maverick who pounced to head in the only goal of the semi-final to seal a place in the Scottish Cup Final against Inverness Caley Thistle at Hampden on Saturday June 3 which sees “lucky” Postecoglou and Co zeroing in on a coveted treble.
The sixth and final Glasgow derby encounter – the champions won the first 4-0 in September – will take place at Ibrox on Saturday afternoon.
Following the ‘well done’ shout from Beale, we have to ask: Is a guard of honour for Scotland’s acknowledged best team before the 12.30pm kick-off out of the question?