ANGE POSTECOGLOU praised the dogged spirit of his champions as they eventually got across the line in a hard-fought 3-1 success over 10-man Hibs at Parkhead yesterday.
Celtic had to overcome the 13th-minute withdrawal of the inspirational Reo Hatate through injury with David Turnbull, rarely seen in recent months, coming on as a quickfire replacement.
Elie Youan was dismissed for picking up two yellow cards before the visitors took the lead through a VAR-assisted penalty-kick which was tucked behind Joe Hart with a fair measure of aplomb by young Easter Road star Josh Campbell.
The Hoops had to wait until after the interval before Filipe Jota rifled a penalty-kick under David Marshall who came so close to denying the Portuguese maverick at his left-hand post.
The former Celtic keeper was helpless in the 81st minute when a header from Oh Hyeon-gyu zipped past him for the hosts’ second and he was stranded when Sead Haksabanovic whipped a 20-yarder into his net for a stoppage-time third.
Asked if it had been a frustrating afternoon at a rainswept Celtic Park, Postecoglou answered: “Frustrated is the right word.
“The players just need to show — and they have normally shown — composure. They need to focus on what’s important to us.
“We can’t let the game drag us away from what’s really important to us as a football team and it’s not easy to do. There’s anxiety, there’s tension, there’s disruption and there’s the opposition.
“There are all these other factors trying to pull you away from what you’re trying to do.
“It’s a big part of who we are as a team. We must not veer away from that and try and find the solutions within our football.
“It’s not the first time we have needed to find a way — and we have found it our way.”
Reflecting on the no-show from away fans at Parkhead and Ibrox for the remaining two Premiership outings of the campaign, Postecoglou, speaking to the Scottish Sun on Sunday, added: “I’m not across the detail. It’s the club in those discussions.
“I have said in the past I think having an allocation is good, albeit only 700.
“But, at the same time, I’m guided by people making these decisions and doing what they think is in the best interests of the game.”
The clubs, of course, will face each other in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden on Sunday April 30 where the attendance will be a 50/50 split.