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ANGE, BERTIE AND THE CELTIC CHALLENGE; DAVIDSON HAILS SAINTS LOSERS

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ANGE POSTECOGLOU paid tribute to Celtic legend Bertie Auld following the 1-0 victory over St Johnstone in the Premier Sports League Cup semi-final at Hampden.

The Hoops great passed away a week ago at the age of 83 and the players honoured the Lisbon Lion by wearing No.10 on their short at Hampden.

The Greek-Australian saw substitute James Forrest, who was only on the pitch for four minutes, rifle in the game’s only goal to book a Final appearance against Hibs, 3-1 winners over Rangers 24 hours later, at the national stadium on Sunday December 19, only six days before Christmas.

HEAVENS ABOVE…a delighted Ange Postecoglou as he wins through to his first Scottish Cup Final.

An emotional Postecoglou admitted afterwards he hoped the triumph over the battling Perth club, winners of both domestic Cup competitions last season, offered a degree of comfort for Auld’s grieving family.

The Parkhead gaffer said: “The tribute to Bertie is an important part of what this club is about.

“The players wore the 10 on their shorts and I said to them after the game, we’re celebrating an immortal of this football club and the Scottish game.

“But we also have to understand there’s some sadness there for the people who are closest to him and his family.

“I’m hoping after that 90 minutes maybe they had a bit of a smile on their face and felt better for a moment.

FAREWELL, OLD FRIEND…the Celtic players, wearing No.10 shorts, participate in the one-minute applause for Bertie Auld before kick-off. 

“We thought about the great man and, hopefully, he was looking on from above. These things are important.

“We’re putting on a shirt that represents something, not just the football club, but the people who helped build Celtic – and Bertie was certainly one of them.”

Postecoglou, speaking to the Scottish Sun on Sunday, continued: “The expectations are that every year this club plays for silverware. The whole group must embrace that, myself included.

“The players can’t think because we’re a new group, it’s okay to make a semi-final or not win silverware. We have to set these standards from the beginning.

“The players rose to that challenge on this occasion. I’m determined to come back and win the trophy.

THE FINAL SAY…James Forrest is congratulated by Callum McGregor after firing in the only goal of the game.

“Yes, I have a vision of how I want to play football and build a team.

“But, ultimately, I knew the measure would be how quickly I can bring success to Celtic. I’m not going to get two or three years to do that. I came here to try and get this club back to where it should be.”

Postecoglou, who will now prepare for the Europa League Group G match against Bayer Leverkusen in Germany on Thursday, also praised goal hero Forrest.

He added: “James has been through a lot. I’m pleased for him, but the whole squad put a shift in today.”

Disappointed Saints chief Callum Davidson applauded his beaten players for defending their trophy with “pride and courage”.

The Perth boss said: “I’m pretty proud of my players and the way they went about their business against a top team in Celtic who are on their way up at the moment.

“They have defended their trophy with a lot of pride and courage.”

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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