Delighted Ange Postecoglou hailed his Celtic side for an “outstanding” display in demolishing Rangers – then vowed they’ll get even BETTER.
A blistering first 45 minutes saw the hosts race into a 3-0 lead as Rangers struggled to get a touch amid a blur of white and green.
The score stayed the same and allowed Celtic to leapfrog their rivals and take the Premiership top spot, with a 10 goal advantage in their favour.
It continues their long unbeaten run and brought perhaps their best 45 minutes of the season, and the manager was blown away by the quality he saw from his side.
Postecoglou said on Sky Sports: “I’m very proud of the lads, I thought our first half was outstanding.
“We scored our three goals but the football we played was just brilliant and we could have had a few more.
“Allan McGregor was outstanding in their goal, in the second half we had to defend a bit more but even then I think we showed that side of, that we can defend if we need to.
“Full credit to the players, it’s a big game and we knew the consequences. There was pressure on us, there’s been pressure on us all along, but I just thought they handled it superbly.
“I think the key is just to set the momentum in a game, set the tempo, and we want to be a team who, irrespective of who we’re playing, we want to have the initiative.
“Whether that’s getting a goal early or just putting them under pressure that’s the kind of football team we want to be.
“That’s good in theory, but you’ve got to do that in the big games and I thought we did today.”
Reo Hatate wowed fans and pundits alike with his all-action display in the midfield, bagging two goals and an assist in a Man of the Match performance.
But while Postecoglou was delighted with how his January signing performed, he couldn’t put the Japanese above the rest of his players.
The Celtic boss continued: “He was great, but I’m hard-pressed to single out people because when you look at how we played our football in the first 45 minutes the whole team was outstanding, from Joe (Hart) right through to our frontmen.
“But it was good for Reo to get a couple of goals, we know he’s got quality and he’ll get better.
“You can see he’s nowhere near the levels of fitness required but we’ll build him up slowly. Great for him to get his goals.”
And the Parkhead boss says it’s not just Hatate who can reach new heights – he’s expecting even better from his whole side.
Postecoglou said: “We’re not the finished article, we keep saying the same things but we’ve changed the whole team.
“Guys have come back or come in at different times without having a real bedding-in process and we’ve got some quality players who are unavailable at the moment who we’ll get back.
“So we’re going to be stronger. We have to be stronger, we want to be stronger.
“That’s the key, we’re not happy with where we are. We want to be better.
“We lost three of our first six and everyone knows how the Scottish Premiership works – we couldn’t afford to not get out of that pretty quickly and almost be perfect after that.
“So we’ve been under pressure for a long time, but it’s not something the players are focused on. Our focus is playing our football and it’ll be the same come the weekend, whether we’re first won’t matter. The important thing is to go out and play our football.”
The match was Postecoglou’s first derby match in front of a packed Parkhead and he took time to pay tribute to the fans.
The Australian acknowledged: “I’ve had some special moments in football but that was one I’ll definitely remember.”