Anthony Ralston says Celtic and Rangers should return to ‘brilliant’ away allocations of old


Anthony Ralston will get some time off with his family and friends this weekend.

However, he would much prefer to be sweating it out on the training ground with his Scotland team-mates.

That the Celtic right-back, who has come of age under Ange Postecoglou this season having been the nearly man for so long at Parkhead, wasn’t selected for the national team’s double-header against Poland tonight and Wales or Austria next Tuesday raised more than a few eyebrows. His own of him among them.

The 23-year-old defender isn’t the type to make a song and dance about it, though. Just as he didn’t when being overlooked at club level before his current manager saw enough in him to play him 40 times so far this season.

But having had a taste of the international scene, there’s no doubt that Ralston wants more.

His debut appearance, off the bench in that fabulous 2-0 win over Denmark in November, whetted the appetite and if the Celtic star – who has also chipped in with five goals this season – maintains his form, he could yet end up gatecrashing a World Cup party.

In the here and now, though, Ralston has been training with his non-travelling clubmates at Lennoxtown this week as Postecoglou keeps his players ticking over ahead of their next test – that crucial trip across the city to Ibrox a week on Sunday.

A win that day would take his side six points clear with the same number of games to play.

The last time they met, of course, Celtic won 3-0 on home soil in front of 60,000 of their own fans with no Rangers supporters in the stadium.

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This time around, Ralston’s club has been offered 700 tickets for Ibrox and while it’s not many, the former Celtic youth academy graduate believes the team will benefit from any kind of backing.

And he reckons their fans will make themselves heard in what will be a hostile atmosphere.

He said: “I would like to see as many as possible. The way it used to be brilliant.

“If that is not going to be the case we just have to take what we can get. It will be good to get any support we can.“

Before that though, there is work to be done. Following by a little rest and recovery, even if he’d have preferred to have been with Steve Clarke’s squad.

Ralston added: “The boys who are not away continue to do a bit of training during the week.

“They are good sessions and you get the chance to focus on specific things. At the end of it there is no game this weekend and you get a few days off.


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“It is ideal given the busy schedule and it is good to have a bit of family time before getting ready to go again.”

Asked if he was surprised that he wasn’t involved with Scotland this week, he admitted: “I was a little bit. I feel that I have done well through the course of the season.

“I would have liked to have been involved in the squad but it is not to be at the minute.

“My main aim is to do my bit for Celtic and hopefully in time I will get that international recognition.

“These things are out of my control. The only thing in my control is my performances and my hard work.”

That attitude has seen him crack the first team this season, sharing right-back duties with Josip Juranovic, and Ralston admits he’s having the time of his life as Celtic chase a domestic treble.

He added: “It is the most I have ever played and I have loved every minute of it.

“It has been great to be a part of the team but it is important to keep kicking on.

“Hopefully I can add a few more games to that between now and end of the season.

“I have been involved with the first team for a few years and seen all the success they’ve had.

Anthony Ralston and Nathan Wood

“I have played some part in that but this one does feel different.

“Naturally that is due to the number of games I’ve played compared to previous seasons.

“Hopefully, more success can come and I can also be a big part of that.

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“The important thing is we get that success regardless of who is playing on the pitch.”

That he has broken through in a season where Postecoglou has assembled a multi-talented squad almost from scratch has made the Bellshill-born full-back’s story even more remarkable.

“This is the strongest squad we’ve had in recent times,” he said. “Whatever challenges we have had during the season we have overcome them.

“I feel the squad is in a really good place providing everyone comes back healthy from the international break.

“With the volume of games from now until the end of the season, it is important everybody is ready to go and do their bit.

“The aim is for everyone to come back healthy and to remain in the good place we are in.

“We have managed to rack up a few wins and that comes down to mentality.

“There is a lot at stake and it is exciting for us all.

“We are looking forward to getting on with it because we are in a good place right now.

“It is important we stay calm, don’t get too far ahead of ourselves and take each game as it comes.”


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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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