STOPPAGE-TIME star Anthony Ralston admits his winning goal against Ross County in Dingwall last night was “the stuff of dreams” – and the defender dedicated his soaring header to the Celtic fans.
With the encounter deadlocked at 1-1 and the Hoops down to 10 men following the ludicrous two yellow cards for Carl Starfelt, the visitors had one last push to claim the goal that would prevent them slipping further behind in their quest for a tenth title in11 years.
The players kept their nerve as Callum McGregor slid the ball to Tom Rogic on the right. The Australian playmaker was his usual unruffled self as he clipped over a cross and Ralston wanted it more than anyone else in a crowded penalty box.
The defender towered about friend and foe to pummel a header beyond the stranded Ashley Maynard-Brewer to keep Ange Postecoglou’s men on track and only four points adrift.
HIGHLAND FLING…Anthony Ralston climbs superbly to bullet in the Hoops’ winner with Cameron Carter-Vickers getting a good view.
JOY BHOY…Anthony Ralston races towards the Celtic fans after his stoppage-time points-clincher.
Ralston was clearly overjoyed after his heroics in the fading moments and said: “It felt brilliant. First and foremost, I’m just happy to contribute to the team in a positive way, this is not an easy place to come to, and to come away with the three points, it was difficult.
“I thought we played our football, but, personally, it’s the stuff of dreams to do that for the fans who came up here.
“To travel with work commitments, to come up here on a weekday and support us, it’s what they deserved, they deserved the three points.
“And I was delighted that we as a team and myself, I could help contribute to that.
“It feels amazing to score a last-minute winner – it’s the first for me so it’s pretty unique feeling.
“If I was in the stand I’d be going nuts as well, so to be involved in scoring the goal was brilliant, but, like I said, the main thing is that I contributed to the team in a positive way and we’ve got the three points to keep on pushing in the right direction.”
PARTY TIME IN DINGWALL…Anthony Ralston leads the Hoops in their aftermatch parade.
Ralston, speaking to Celtic TV, added: “It’s important to believe I can contribute to the team as positively as I can, so it comes with confidence, to be in the areas and to take those chances.
“It was a great ball in from Tom for a start and that helps to get on the end of it.
“I’ve always believed that I can play here and I’m loving every minute of it, like I keep on saying, but again to give these fans something special to go back down the road with, it was important to do.
“It’s important that all the boys are involved, whether you’re starting or not, and when you come into the team it’s important that you know your role.
“It was a difficult evening, there were challenges put in front of us in going down to 10 men and we dealt with it, we stayed on top of the game.
ON THE BALL…Anthony Ralston powers into attack.
“We believed that we would get our opportunity and that fell to me, so it was on me to capitalise on it at that moment, which I’m glad I could do.
“But it’s important that we always believe through the game and through every game that we play, no matter what challenge is put in front of us, that we can overcome.”
The welcome winner in the Highland was rejuvenated Ralston’s fifth strike of the season.
Not bad going for the 23-year-old right-back who had scored only two in his entire career up until the arrival of boss Postecoglou.