CHRIS SUTTON reckons Ange Postecoglou has “assembled the most exciting Celtic side” he can remember watching as they rack up the victories.
However, the Hoops goalscoring great also warns the team will hit a brickwall at some stage and it will be crucial to see how the champions react in adversity.
Postecoglou has safely steered the club through football’s treacherous choppy waters after losing his first three away Premiership outings after taking over as Neil Lennon’s long-term successor in June 2021.
ACCLAIM…Ange Postecoglou is in the spotlight as he acknowledges the backing of the Celtic support.
He has laughed off “lucky” remarks from opposition managers such as Michael Beale across the city at Ibrox and David Martindale at Livingston.
Sutton believes that some individuals are somehow attempting to undermine the Greek-Australian’s considerable feats with what they might hope are unsettling remarks.
The one-time England international striker said: “Whether that lucky jibe from [Michael] Beale was an attempt to belittle Ange Postecoglou’s achievements as a coach or rattle him and Celtic, it smacked of a real lack of class.
“Within the game, I think many managers will have raised eyebrows at Beale’s lack of self-awareness, especially after the way he left QPR.
“And, for me, there’s also just something about the way he talks about the last Rangers title triumph, almost a perception that he was front and centre of that success. Wasn’t Steven Gerrard the actual manager? The one in the firing line?
“Yes Postecoglou has the resource, but he’s worked at it. He’s a club builder and has had success in different countries over 25 years in management by doing so.”
HAPPY 21st…delighted Kyogo Furuhashi makes the familiar ‘pyramid’ celebration motion after his goal against Livingston in midweek to take him over last season’s goal haul of 20.
Sutton, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “He had to build Celtic up because the club was on the decline when he arrived and the squad was not good enough. He went straight into Champions League qualifiers using kids.
“He’s had to build what he’s now got. Top coaches, managers and observers respect that.
“The speed of Celtic’s play is a joy to watch at times and some of the individuals are worth admission money alone.
“Kyogo Furuhashi’s lightning movement and expert finishing. Jota is capable of stuff that makes supporters gasp in appreciation. Reo Hatate is a wonderful footballer who can make you want to stand and applaud when he does something special.
“When they are on it, it’s exhilarating.
“That just doesn’t come around because you are lucky and because you’ve got cash to spend. Celtic have won 26 of their 28 domestic games this season and, importantly, it’s been done, for the most part, with a swashbuckling swagger.
BY THE RIGHT…emergency full-back Reo Hatate scores his second goal in Celtic’s 4-1 win over St Johnstone at Parkhead on Christmas Eve.
“It’s remorseless and it is to be admired, not picked at. It almost seems like, given the run Postecoglou’s team are on and the way they are steamrollering across the country, it’s now time for rivals to start making little pointers and jabs to somehow detract from what they are doing.
“It’s unlikely to work. And, if anything, having subtle digs at Postecoglou and his players is even more likely to motivate them to keep going and get stronger.”
Sutton added: “Listen, I have no doubt that Celtic are going to slip up at some point in the coming weeks. It’s football, it just happens.
“There will be a day when they don’t fire. A red card goes against them or a ridiculous penalty is given to the opposition due to VAR.
“Or Postecoglou’s team don’t play at 100 per cent. It happens everywhere to all teams in all countries and it’ll happen to Celtic. When? I’ve no idea. But it will occur.
“But, just as they did when St Mirren beat them last September, chances are they’ll get straight back into top gear and begin reeling off wins again. They are not giving anyone a sniff.
“It’s remarkable and the challenge for Celtic is to keep the motivation and keep the hunger.
“As Postecoglou is building a squad to improve in next season’s Champions League, I’m not sure that is going to be any issue. Celtic’s work at the moment is astonishing. It’s not to be picked at and demeaned.
“It’s classy and to be admired. Not devalued.”