Ange Postecoglou insists Celtic ‘haven’t over burned’ players as he lays out final fitness push masterplan

Ange Postecoglou says Celtic will be fit and firing for the Premiership split – just in time for their title charge.

The Hoops gaffer believes two free midweeks, as well as the international break, will allow his players to refuel before hitting the home straight.

And Postecoglou hopes that it will give them the edge over Rangers in the race for the league flag.

Celtic are currently top of the table and take on Livingston in the Premiership.

They haven’t been at their best recently and dropped points away at Hibs last Sunday.

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But with no European football, Postecoglou’s players will have a week’s rest before facing Dundee United in the Scottish Cup.

While Rangers battle Red Star Belgrade in the Europa League knock-outs, Celtic will have another full week to prepare for Ross County.

After the international break, they’ve got the Old Firm game at Ibrox on April 3 then St Johnstone at home before the split.

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And by that time, Postecoglou reckons his squad will be ready to hit peak form at exactly the right time.

He said: “I hope we’re on track to be strong for this part of the season, that’s the plan.

“After Livingston, we’ve got eight days until we play in the Scottish Cup.

“That will be the first free midweek we’ve had for a while.

“That means we can rest some of the players and put some work into others.

“Then it’s another week until we play Ross County before the international break.

“That’s a good period of time for us to do some work.

“The positive thing for us is that the lads we got in January have performed right away.

“That has allowed me to rotate the side, which means we haven’t over burned any players.

“We haven’t had the level of injuries we had in the first half of the season.

“So I’m hoping we got to the international break with a fully fit, healthy squad.

“That will help us be at our strongest for the most important part of the year.”

It’s Postecoglou’s first experience of the SPFL’s split where his side will take on the rest of the top six in the title run-in.

He was part of something similar in Australia’s A-League when his Brisbane Roar side were crowned champions.

And the Celtic boss says it adds excitement to the season’s climax for supporters.

He said: “In Australia, we’d play a full league season then the top five would go off for a finals series to decide the champions.

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“You end up playing the top teams so I suppose this is an abbreviation of that.

“I understand why it happens. In the context of the season, it’ll certainly make it exciting because it’s so tight.

“Every team is playing for something which isn’t a bad thing from the supporters’ perspective.

“Their team is at least striving for something. When you get towards the end of the season you don’t want too many dead rubbers.

“That’s not good for anyone so I understand the reason for it. We’ll tackle it when we have to.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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