ANGE POSTECOGLOU applauded his Celtic players for maintaining “an almost impossible standard” as they overcame Hearts 2-0 at Tynecastle on the Sunday afternoon of May 7 2023 to seal a second successive title.

It was also the 53rd crown in the glorious history of the Parkhead club.

Second-half strikes from Kyogo Furuhashi and his replacement Oh Hyeon-gyu fired the champions to an eleventh title in 12 years with four games still to play.

Postecoglou beamed: “I’m super proud. It feels like it’s been a long year.

“This group of players and the staff have been outstanding in maintaining an almost impossible standard week in, week out. It’s a credit to every one of them.

FOLLOW THE LEADER…Ange Postecoglou shows the way at Tynecastle as the Celtic squad arrive for the title crunch against Hearts on Sunday May 7. Assistant John Kennedy is next in line. 

“We won the title last year and there’s always the danger that maybe guys will get ahead of themselves and become complacent, but from the first moment we got back in pre-season they had the target of being stronger this year and a better side, and they’ve done it every day.

“They’ve been relentless in their approach.

“I’ve had the easy job of watching these guys maintain a ridiculous standard of football and give fantastic commitment to this club.”

Postecoglou, who had led the Hoops to a 2-1 League Cup Final success over Rangers three months earlier, continued: “The year we’ve had has been remarkable for the football we’ve played, the consistency and the goals we’ve scored.

“I did have a moment after that first game [against Hearts in July 2021]where we had a mountain to climb. But I really had belief that I could do something here in terms of, firstly, building a team that this football club and these fans deserve, and, secondly, being successful.

“It’s a credit to everyone that they’ve jumped on board and we’ve got the job done.”

NUMBER ONE…Kyogo Furuhashi clips a close-range shot past Hearts keeper Zander Clark to put Celtic on course for a second successive championship.

NUMBER TWO…Oh Hyeun-gyu stretches to divert the points clincher beyond the stranded Zander Clark.

Ange smiled and observed: “The whole football club have embraced me from day one and I’m really grateful to give something back.

“You get emotional because you understand what’s gone into it.

“We haven’t been as free-flowing as we were earlier in the year, which is understandable. And it’s felt like a long year because of the Champions League and the World Cup break.”

As the season edged towards a conclusion, speculation continued to link Postecoglou with the vacant manager’s job at Spurs, looking for a replacement for Antonio Conte who had been fired in April.

The Greek-Australian savoured the last league outing, a 5-0 victory over Aberdeen at Parkhead and refused to discuss anything until after the Scottish Cup Final against Inverness Caley Thistle which was due at Hampden a week later.

SCREEN STAR…a beaming Ange Postecoglou after Celtic’s capital show in Edinburgh.

CAPTAIN MARVEL…skipper Callum McGregor leads his triumphant Celtic team-mates after their flag success.

Postecoglou insisted: “I’ve been pretty straightforward, there’s nothing cryptic in my messages.

“We’ve got one game to go. I’m not talking about next year until we win next week. That’s our goal, we’ve got to win this Cup.

“I’m not going to pass up the opportunity to do something special, to win a treble. I know people have done it and greater things, but I’m not going to look past that.

“I really want us to finish strong. It’s not going to be an easy game, it’s a Cup Final.

“We’re determined to get it done.”

On June 3, the Hoops made history by becoming the first club to achieve eight domestic clean sweeps after seeing off a spirited Inverness Caley Thistle 3-1 on a bright and sunny evening at Hampden with Kyogo Furuhashi, Liel Abada and Filipe Jota on target.

Three days later, Postecoglou was announced as the new manager of Spurs.

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