ANGE POSTECOGLOU was smiles better as Celtic eased towards their second successive Premiership title following a thoroughly professional 3-0 victory over Livingston at Parkhead.
It was all over as a contest by half-time with the Hoops coasting after goals from Greg Taylor, claiming his third strike of the season, Daizen Maeda and Kyogo Furuhashi.
The latest triumph maintained the champions’ nine-point advantage over their nearest challengers who won by the same scoreline over Hearts at Tynecastle.
A BIG HAND…Ange Postecoglou applauds his Celtic players as they go to work against Livingston.
Postecoglou couldn’t resist a quip after it was stated the hosts’ second goal was in the “lucky” category.
It came after Livi defender Ayo Obileye hammered a hasty clearance off the face of Maeda and the ball ricocheted past a flummoxed Shamal George and into the net.
Ibrox gaffer Michael Beale branded the Greek-Australian a “lucky man” last month when he was referring to the manager’s spending power and Livi coach David Martindale made a similar comment earlier this week when he was discussing the Parkhead club’s budget.
The Hoops chief smiled and said: “You love that word, don’t you? It’s just so easy! How many runs does Daizen make in a game?
“It was a product of his hard work. Anyone who watches Daizen sees he’s constantly making runs and constantly in those areas.
“There were a couple of times he lacked a bit of composure, but he’s always there – that’s why he gets his goals.
“I’ve known him for a while now and sometimes people say he’s fortuitous, but it’s on the back of working his backside off when we have the ball. He gets the rewards from that.”
ON THE REBOUND…Daizen Maeda celebrates as his “lucky” ricochet leaves Livingston keeper Shamal George helpless for Celtic’s second goal.
Postecoglou, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “I thought it was another strong performance.
“We knew it would be a tough challenge, trying to create opportunities in the game. I thought we were really good, we had a lot of possession and we used it really well, asking questions of the opposition and being threatening with our running.
“We scored three good goals, second-half wasn’t any easier because they still sat in and made it difficult.
“It wasn’t going to be an open game, but we still controlled it well and had some half-chances in the second-half.”
Joe Hart claimed his sixth successive shut-out and Postecoglou added: “It is not just that we are keeping clean sheets, we are stopping the opposition even getting into our half at times.
“That is because our front players are working hard, our midfielders are working hard and it is backed up by our defenders who are always defending on the front foot. That is pleasing for me, yeah.
“The clean sheets are more a by-product of the stuff we talk about and work on. That is the pleasing bit.”
Next up, it’s St Johnstone with a High Noon showdown at McDiarmid Park on Sunday.