ANGE POSTECOGLOU accepted Celtic were not at their scintillating best as they overcame a stubborn Motherwell side 2-1 at Fir Park last night.
But the Hoops boss was also quick to applaud the efforts of his players on the home front and cut them some slack by acknowledging: “They’re human beings.”
The champions remained seven points clear at the Premiership summit with just Ross County to play at Parkhead on Saturday afternoon before the World Cup break kicks in.
Postecoglou’s players’ crusade for a second successive title will be forced onto the backburner until they hit the restart button at Pittodrie against Aberdeen on Saturday December 17.
NUMBER ONE…Kyogo Furuhashi turns a Matt O’Riley cross past Well keeper Liam Kelly.
The Japanese double-act of the seemingly-inexhaustible Kyogo Furuhashi and Daizen Maeda got the team over the line for their 13th league victory out of 14 – their only blip being the incomprensible 2-0 loss at St Mirren in September – as they remained on course to complete the first period of the campaign on a high.
The win over Steve Hammell’s side was the eighth consecutive domestic success in the period since the loss in Paisley.
Despite Champions League commitments to take care of, the Hoops have maintained a relentless focus on the domestic scene and Postecoglou said: “We’ve had perfect league form in such a period of real fixture congestion, including Europe.
“There wouldn’t be many teams in Europe who have gone through that period and had the level of results we’ve had. It’s credit to the guys as it’s not easy.
NUMBER TWO…Daizen Maeda flashes in the winner with Stephen O’Donnell too late to intervene.
“I’ve got no doubt that we can finish strong on Saturday. All the boys who have come through this will feel better about themselves for th experience.
“Obviously, we’ve got a strong squad, but sometimes that makes it tough, too, because you bring players in and it changes things.
“It’s important for us that as we continue to build and become a better side. The more we’re resilient through difficult times because they will always come, it’s never all going to be easy. So, the fact it is there is good.”
Looking at the confrontation at Fir Park, Postecoglou, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “It was a bit of a grind. We never really got into the rhythm we wanted.
“Credit to Motherwell. We didn’t start well and complicated things. We made the game difficult for ourselves. They worked hard and disrupted us. When we’re playing well we move the ball quickly and find simple solutions.
THREE CHEERS…Carl Starfelt and Matt O’Riley congratulate Kyogo Furuhashi after his opening goal.
“I thought we just tried to be too cute, didn’t play the obvious pass. It didn’t allow us to control the game the way we wanted.
“My role is to assess performance and we could play better, but a big part of this team is their character when we’re not at our best.
“Winning away from home in the Premiership is never easy. That we found a way again is credit to the lads. We had good opportunities to take advantage of the space. It just happened too infrequently.
“I prefer to play well every game, but over the course of a season that’s impossible.
“That is not going to happen. They’re human beings.”