ANTHONY RALSTON scored against Hearts at Tynecastle in Ange Postecoglou’s first Premiership game as Celtic manager in July 2021.

Neither the player nor the new manager had anything to celebrate afterwards, however, as the Edinburgh side claimed a last-gasp winner to clinch the points with a 2-1 success.

Things are liable to be a little different against the same opponents at the same venue on Sunday afternoon.

FLASHBACK…Anthony Ralston celebrates his strike against Hearts at Tynecastle in July 2021 as James Forrest and Callum McGregor join in.

A win for the Hoops will bring Postecoglou and his troops their second successive title and set up a historic bid for the club’s eighth treble in their glorious history when they face Inverness Caley Thistle in the Scottish Cup Final at Hampden next month.

Ralston is in line for only his second first-team start in 2023 – the other being against the Gorgie team in the 3-1 win at Parkhead in March – as the champions aim for a capital show to get the victory required for the club’s 53rd crown.

The 24-year-old Scotland international right-back was pitched into the Scottish Cup semi-final against Michael Beale’s Ibrox outfit when Alistair Johnston hirpled off in the 54th minute.

It was a seamless changeover with Ralston fitting right in and it will be the same situation in the capital at the weekend when the Hoops want to get the job done with a fair amount of style.

The no-nonsense defender said: “That’s the mindset of all the players. It’s a big squad and it’s important to know your role when you could be called on at any point.

PUSH OFF…Anthony Ralston tussles for possession with Tod Cantwell.

DOWN AND OUT…Cantwell is ground after the clash with Ralston.

TALKING THE TALK…Cantwell has something to say as Ralston walks the walk.

“Either way, you just want to win. It’s how we win it as well. We want to be able to burst through the finish. It’s not a case of letting up at all. My job wasn’t to go on [at Hampden]and do anything for myself, it was for the team. That’s drummed right through us.

“We’ve no other choice. From day one, the gaffer’s message has been that we train every day like we are going to play and that’s what we all do. That’s the reason why boys, and on Sunday it was not just myself, can come off the bench and do a job because we train every day at the highest level.

“Even the boys who weren’t there on Sunday, they train every day to make us the best we can be. I wish Ali all the best with his health and his recovery. If I need to step in and do my job, then I’ll step in and do my job.

“We’re in it as a team. Success comes as a team.”

Ralston, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “Of course, you want to be playing as much as possible. But the most important thing is the end goal and that end goal is achieved by having a squad, not individuals.

“It’s not about what you want personally, it’s about a squad of boys that want to achieve special things. That’s what we want to do and that’s how we work.

THAT’S MY BHOY…Greg Taylor and Anthony Ralston are all smiles after the Scottish Cup semi-final success at Hampden.

“Me and Josip Juranovic had a great relationship. If he was in, I would support him and the same the other way round. It’s the same with me and Ali. We’ve got a great relationship, as well. I wish him all the best with his health and his recovery.”

Reflecting on his goal in the disappointing loss right at the start of Postecoglou’s reign, Ralston added: “That feels like a lifetime ago now. I closed my eyes and hoped for the best with my left foot!

“We know it’s a tough place to go, but it’s about us and we’ll go into training and get our heads down. Last Sunday is done, it’s about this weekend now.

“We go to work and we aim to go there and win. It’s one of our goals to win the title and we’re going to try our best to do that. It starts with the training pitch.

“We’ll go and implement our things in training to then go and execute it at the weekend.”

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