ANGE POSTECOGLOU utilised all five substitutes – Liel Abada, Matt O’Riley, Oh Hyeon-gyu, Sead Haksabanovic and Tomoki Iwata – in Celtic’s 5-1 win over St Mirren in Paisley yesterday.
The classy quintet made their introduction during the second-half as the champions came back from a penalty-kick goal down from Mark O’Hara to clinch victory as they restored their nine-point advantage at the Premiership pinnacle.
Abada, O’Riley and Oh joined Filipe Jota and Alistair Johnston among the goals as Stephen Robinson’s 10 men – with Charles Dunne red-carded late in the first-half – collapsed under the deluge of relentless pressure.
All five of the marksmen – plus Haksabanovic and Iwata – against suffering Saints were brought to Parkhead by the 57-year-old Greek-Australian gaffer.
SUB STRIKES…Liel Abada lashes No.3 past St Mirren keeper Trevor Carson.
SUB STRIKES…Matt O’Riley slots in the fourth in Paisley.
SUB STRIKES…Oh Hyeon-gyu slides in a penalty-kick to bring down the curtain on the scoring with a fifth goal.
Postecoglou’s wheeling and dealing, buying and selling in the shark-infested transfer waters have been nothing short of phenomenal.
It’s a fact recognised by former Hoops fans’ favourite and midfielder Kris Commons who insists the champions’ stand-by squad would “walk” into Michael Beale’s Ibrox first team.
The Govan outfit’s followers are less than enamoured by their favourites following last weekend’s nosedive in the Viaplay League Cup Final against Ange’s conquerors.
The bombastic noises coming from that corner of the city from players such as Fashion Sakala and others who should have known better added to the embarrassment of being turned over by their rivals.
A section of the fans have turned on the club board as evidenced by protests against chief executive Stewart Robertson and sporting director Ross Wilson in the 3-1 home win over Kilmarnock at the weekend.
The recruitment of the club’s hierarchy is being questioned and one-time Scotland international playmaker Commons said: “Look at Rangers on Saturday, with Connor Goldson, James Tavernier and Fashion Sakala scoring the goals against Kilmarnock.
CHEERS…Oh Hyeon-gyu races away after netting from the spot with fellow-sub Sead Haksabanovic in pursuit.
“These are players signed by Steven Gerrard and, in the case of Tavernier, by Mark Warburton.
“The squad is still made up of signings from previous managers. It just highlights how stagnant things have become at Ibrox and how their recruitment model has failed with fans now making their feelings on this clear to sporting director Ross Wilson.
“Even Celtic’s subs would walk into this Rangers team at the moment.
“The gulf in quality and depth between the two squads is massive. Postecoglou has built a ruthless machine at Celtic, one which is now relentlessly hunting down another league title.
“After the demolition in Paisley, Celtic have now scored 250 goals in just 99 games under the Australian.”
The champions, pursuing their second successive title, are at home to Hearts on Wednesday while Beale’s team take on Hibs.
Commons, writing in his Daily Mail column, added: “Rangers face a difficult trip to Easter Road to face a Hibs team who have picked up some decent form lately under Lee Johnson. There’s some serious unrest at Ibrox at the moment.
“We’ve seen it with some of the banners unveiled by fans in recent weeks. They can see how far their club is behind Celtic on and off the pitch.
POINTING THE WAY…Tomoki Iwata gets some first-team minutes against Saints.
“Recruitment is key to success in modern football, but it’s an area where Rangers have faltered badly since winning the league.
“By and large, they’ve signed a load of dross whilst also allowing key players like Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos to run down their contracts.
“Celtic’s stance on things like that is night and day. As soon as anyone shows any indication they won’t commit to a new deal, they’ll be out the door.
“Postecoglou is ruthless about it, as we’ve seen with Josip Juranovic and Giorgos Giakoumakis. Rangers, on the other hand, allow players to dilly-dally.
“Given the unrest among supporters, it feels like Rangers are just one result away from things really blowing up.
“It’s impossible to avoid the feeling that the past week has really put into perspective just how far they are behind Celtic.”