CHRIS SUTTON admits he didn’t think Celtic had an earthly of clinching the Premiership crown after last season’s wretched campaign.

Neil Lennon paid the ultimate price for failure when he departed Parkhead in February – only two days after a miserable 1-0 loss to relegation-threatened Ross County in Dingwall.

John Kennedy was put in interim charge for the remaining 10 games of a term that had promised so much in the summer, but collapsed under the weight of some awful performances at home and abroad.

The side limped towards the finishing post without a trophy for the first time in 11 years and there was the anticipated exodus of star names such as skipper Scott Brown, top scorer Odsonne Edouard and internationals Kristoffer Ajer and Ryan Christie.

THAT WINNING FEELING…Ange Postecoglou shakes his hands with assistant John Kennedy at full-time.

It was a summer of chaos and confusion in the east end of Glasgow with the three-month saga of Eddie Howe ending in failure with Peter Lawwell, just three weeks before leaving his post as chief executive, finally pulling the plug on the quest for the former Bournemouth manager.

He swiftly switched his attention to one-time Australia World Cup gaffer Postecoglou who proved he was up for a monumental task.

Former Hoops hitman Sutton didn’t believe there was any hope of the new man leading his old team to silverware and revealed: “I didn’t think that Celtic had any chance of winning a title this season given what Postecoglou had to inherit.

“The fact he even had them challenging was impressive enough, but to have them six points clear at this stage is a remarkable effort.

“Only a fool will say it is over. It’s not easy to win a championship, especially the first as it would be for a lot of the Celtic squad.

GOVAN GLEE CLUB…goalscorer Tom Rogic is congratulated by Filipe Jota and Reo Hatate.

“Crucially, no-one inside the camp will think it is done. The manager and skipper simply won’t allow that to happen.

“You saw them and heard them after the Rangers game in February saying that nothing had been achieved following the 3-0 win and that’s the same here.

“There are still 18 points up for grabs and Celtic are going to have to keep their foot on the pedal.

“Rangers could go to Celtic Park after the split and win. They are a good side and they are capable of doing so. However, it just felt like there was something pivotal about this victory for Celtic.

“The way they went to the home of their rivals and recovered from a shocking start to win the game and cope with everything that was thrown their way speaks volumes.

“People had to stand up and be counted when it really mattered and it was the ones in green and white who did so with the biggest influence.”

HIGH HOPES…the winning goal is on the way as Carl Starfelt challenges Leon Balogun with Cameron Carter-Vickers waiting to pounce. 

THE WINNER…Cameron Carter-Vickers watches his shot elude Allan McGregor with skipper Callum McGregor getting a good view of the strike.

Sutton, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “No pair stood stronger than Cameron Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt. The duo were warriors for their team-mates and their manager.

“It was just the way it had to be for Celtic to win. And that’s what the two of them delivered.

“I made it crystal clear before the game that those two were going to have to be outstanding for Celtic to win. Both players were every bit as good as they needed to be.

“In fact, they were even better with one of them coming up with a winning goal.

“Carter-Vickers and Starfelt were asked time and time again to defend their box. To cope with set-plays, to match the Rangers strength in those situations.

“Time and again they came up with the answers. Time and again they put a head on things. They got a block in. They hustled and harried a striker.

HOOP HOOP HOORAY…Cameron Carter-Vickers celebrates his winning strike.

“Kemar Roofe might not have given them as stiff a test as Alfredo Morelos may have done, but who is to say they wouldn’t have handled him, as well?

“There was no clean sheet, but that wasn’t really their doing. They were left exposed when Josip Juranovic got caught with a ball inside.

“But from that point they were superb and gave Celtic the type of backbone which they have lacked in some of the recent matches against Rangers, especially at Ibrox.”

WIZARD OF OZ…Tom Rogic menaces Allan McGregor, but the chance was lost after Calvin Bassey blocked his shot.

Sutton also had special praise for Tom Rogic who had overcome the ankle injury that saw him hirple off in the previous match against Ross County at Parkhead.

The former England international attack-leader added: “Everyone knows my feelings on Rogic and it was all there again from him.

“Touch and poise. Composure and authority. His goal might have been a simple enough finish, but it’s just the way he does it. Stress free where others panic.

“Rogic has been one of the real success stories of the Postecoglou reign and that was a masterful performance just when his boss needed it.”



Click Here for Comments >

About Author