ANTHONY RALSTON has admitted Celtic will put all thoughts of silverware success on hold as they concentrate on the immediate job at hand on the domestic and European fronts.
The 23-year-old right-back helped the team to within 90 minutes of Ange Postecoglou’s first trophy as Hoops manager when they overcame St Johnstone 1-0 in a tense Premier Sports League Cup semi-final at Hampden at the weekend.
The Parkhead men will return to the national stadium on Sunday December 19 to face Hibs, who trounced their Ibrox opponents 3-1 yesterday, in a battle of the greens as they lock horns for the first prize of the campaign.
NO FLAGGING…Anthony Ralston has revealed his priorities.
It is the ideal opportunity for Celtic to get straight back on the trophy trail after last season’s wretched failure, but Ralston insisted their focus will be elsewhere until the pre-Christmas showpiece is played.
Postecoglou’s men are now preparing for Thursday’s Europa League Group G encounter against Bayer Leverkusen in Germany where they have the chance of setting up a winner-takes-all confrontation with Real Betis in Glasgow on December 9.
There are also five massive league games to be met and conquered before Hibs come on the Hoops’ radar.
Rejuvenated Ralston, who made his first appearance for Scotland as a late substitute in the 2-0 win over Denmark a week ago today, said: “We are a club that wants to win everything that we are involved in and that will definitely be our aim. “But we will put it to the back of our heads for a minute and focus on the games coming up.
TRUE GRIT…Anthony Ralston tackles St Johnstone striker Chris Kane.
“When that game comes, we will look to add another trophy to the many we have won before.”
Ralston continued: “It was a tough game against St Johnstone. We expected that going into it.
“We were set up well and focused on how we wanted to play and that is what we did.
“It was hard fought, but I am delighted we won in the end and can look forward to a Final.”
As the Hoops prepare for the trip to take on Jeremie Frimpong and Co, they know they are already guaranteed a place in Europe next year via the Conference League after back-to-back wins over Ferencvaros.
PRIZE GUY…James Forrest races away in triumph after hammering in the semi-final winner.
However, the eyes are on the next stage of the Europa League and club warrior James Forrest, who thumped in the winning goal against the Perth club only four minutes after being introduced as a substitute for Liel Abada, is ready to play a key role again.
Ralston, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “He has had difficult time with injury, but that is the quality that James has got.
“He can come on and make the difference for the team. You have seen it year in year out with him.
“James has been a big loss for us, but I am delighted and we are all delighted as a team that he is coming back into the fold now.
“He can bring that to our game and make the difference.”