ANGE POSTECOGLOU admitted Celtic should not have been put in a position of producing a late, late winner in the tension-laden show against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park this afternoon.
The Hoops should never have been fretting over the consequences of two dropped points against a team who only held onto their Premiership place following the play-off against Arbroath last season.
However, it looked as though a draw would be the best the visitors were going to achieve on a day of missed opportunities with the opening goal coming from a deflection by Andy Considine just before the interval.
STOPPAGE-TIME STUNNER…Joe Hart stretches in vain as Alex Mitchell levels for St Johnstone with James McCarthy and Anthony Ralston looking on helplessly.
Some sloppy defending from a free-kick, though, allowed Alex Mitchell the chance to drill the equaliser past the exposed Joe Hart in the third minute of stoppage time.
Seventy seconds later, though, Giorgos Giakoumakis forced in the crucial points-clincher from close range after James McCarthy and Alexandro Bernabei had combined on the left for the Argentinian defender to whip in an inviting low cross.
A relieved and smiling Postecoglou said: “That’s the nature of football. We should have put the game to bed a lot earlier and at 1-0 the opposition always feel they’re in it and it doesn’t take much.
“A scramble in the box, they’ve got threats from set-pieces and we concede late.
“Credit to the lads, we went there a few times last year and it’s good to know if required it’s still there. You have to have that through the course of the season. We’d love everything to run smoothly and it’s a game we really should have finished off a lot earlier.
NET PROFIT…Giorgos Giakoumakis races away after firing in the winner in the fading moments of added-on time.
“We went to the last minute but it’s important to show that character.
“It’s a period we’re going through just now – creating chances and not taking them. Earlier in the season we were taking everything coming our way. That’s the nature of football and we just have persevere and persist with what we’re doing and as long as we’re creating the chances eventually it will come.
“It’s a lot harder when you’re struggling to create chances because then you’re looking for solutions out there. We had some really good chances and on any other day would have finished the game off.
“There will be games like this during the course of the season and it’s important when they do come along that we show the character that we did today.”
OH, GEE…Liel Abada gets a close-up view as Andy Considine (in front of Liam Gordon) diverts the opening goal beyond his own keeper Remy Matthews.
Joe Hart held his hands up for the howler that gifted RB Leipzig their second goal in the 3-1 Champions League defeat in Germany in midweek, but the keeper made a couple of top saves this time around, the most significant a full-length swoop to his right to push a close-range drive from Stevie May onto an upright.
Postecoglou, speaking to Sky Sports, said: “That’s Joe’s role in our team. Our goalkeeper is never usually too busy, but we need him for the big moments and he’s always delivered.
“If we’re talking about saves and missed chances I think the other end is more important for us.”
Explaining the non-appearance of Filipe Jota after the interval with Daizen Maeda taking his place, the Hoops boss added: Jota was a bit of fatigue.
“The plan was not to play him for too long as he’s played a lot of football, but there’s no concern there.”