CELTIC failed to spark in anticipated fashion in the 2-2 stalemate with Michael Beale’s side at Ibrox.
However, Ange Postecoglou didn’t appear to be overly concerned after the champions threw away an early lead, conceded two goals in six minutes after the turnaround and had to rely on an 88th-minute equaliser to maintain their nine-point advantage at the Premiership pinnacle.
It was most certainly a below-par performance from the Parkhead outfit, but the Hoops boss simply said: “They are human beings. They are not robots.
“It was a big game, a big occasion. We started so well and it doesn’t take much.
THE FINAL SAY…Ange Postecoglou talks to the media at Ibrox after the 2-2 draw.
“Greg Taylor going off injured didn’t help us, the balance of the team was out of whack, but there was still, even within that context, just giving the ball away cheaply which we don’t normally do. But they are not going to be perfect all the time.
“The beauty of it is within that context they still found a way because at 2-1 it would have been easy, with the crowd the way it was and the way the game was going for us, to resign ourselves to our fate, and say it is not our day.
“But this group of players never do that and they didn’t on this occasion. It’s the way this group is, the way we have created the environment.”
Postecoglou, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “There isn’t anything like a lost cause. You go till the final whistle and nothing changes.
“Even in our comfortable victories, you’ll still see us being really aggressive till the last minute. The players are conditioned to think that way and play that way
“It’s easy for me to talk about it, but in today’s environment, and the way the game was, it would have been almost natural to say: ‘Jeez, it’s not going to be our day’.
END GAME…the scoreboard says it all for Ange Postecoglou at the final whistle.
“But this group of players just refuse to do that.”
The champions got off to the perfect start in the fifth when Daizen Maeda intercepted a wayward crossfield pass from Alfredo Morelos and raced away from James Tavernier and Connor Goldson to plank the ball behind the advancing Allan McGregor.
However, some remarkable sloppy play from Josip Juranovic, playing out of position on the left after replacing the injured Taylor, allowed a kick-out from Allan McGregor to drop at the feet of Fashion Sakala.
The Croatian World Cup star couldn’t catch the Zambian as he sped away before setting up Ryan Kent for the equaliser.
Juranovic was caught out again by Sakala shortly afterwards when Carl Starfelt was forced into a sliding challenge. At first look, it appeared to be a stick-on penalty-kick.
PAYING THE PENALTY…Carl Starfelt prepares to challenge Fashion Sakala.
BEST FOOT FORWARD…Sakala clearly puts his boot on Starfelt’s right foot to make contact.
DOWN HE GOES…Sakala looks convincing as he topples over with Starfelt grounded. Referee John Beaton immediately awards a spot-kick and VAR does not intervene.
Replays, however, showed the home player making contact with the defender before going sprawling. VAR didn’t intervene.
Tavernier accept the gift and hammered an unstoppable effort high past Joe Hart to put the home side ahead.
And it remained that way until substitutes Filipe Jota and Aaron Mooy combined on the left, the Aussie tried to force the ball across the face of goal.
Jota tried to make contact as the ball fell to Giorgos Giakoumakis, another sub, who saw an effort bounce to the perfectly placed Kyogo Furuhashi who clipped a brilliant 10-yard drive over McGregor.
Postecoglou added: “Great game for football, mate. I thought it was a cracking game for everyone.
“All eyes are on this game, not just in Scotland, but all around the world and I thought both teams were at it. It was a proper derby. Everything is pleasing. It’s a difficult place to come to.
“We knew they’d throw everything at us because of the importance in the context of the league. I thought for the most part we handled it okay.”