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SHOPPING AROUND: SUTTON WARNS CELTIC OF IBROX GAP

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ANGE POSTECOGLOU has landed the first of his priority signings with Cameron Carter-Vickers agreeing a £6million four-year switch from Spurs.

The 24-year-old central defender, who played for the USA in their 5-0 CONCACAF Nations League win over Grenada in Texas this morning, ended the waiting game by finally sealing the deal after his impressive loan campaign.

The Celtic manager will now turn his attention to Filipe Jota, the £6.5million-rated Benfica winger who also had an outstanding term during his temporary transfer, in an effort to get him on a long-term contract.

JOY BHOYS…Cameron Carter-Vickers and Matt O’Riley – two of Ange Postecoglou’s signings – celebrate a goal for Celtic on their way to championship success.

Postecoglou has been linked with a host of targets, but former Hoops striker Chris Sutton insists the 56-year-old Greek-Australian gaffer won’t need to pitched into the whirlwind of last summer when 12 new players arrived at Parkhead during the dramatic revamp at the club who had completed the previous season without silverware for the first time in 11 years.

The one-time England international forward said: “Ange Postecoglou doesn’t have to start from the back of the grid this summer.

“But he still has to keep his foot firmly to the floor – because it doesn’t take much to lose pole position when it comes to winning the big race in Glasgow.

“This notion Rangers are a busload of signings away from catching them just doesn’t add up to me.

“I saw it being stated Giovanni van Bronckhorst might need as many as six signings to get back ahead of Celtic in the title sprint next season. Not sure I’m buying that, to be honest.

“Postecoglou sits on top of the podium right now, but his team couldn’t drop the revs until the final straight to get over the line.

ON SONG…Filipe Jota could be back on tune at Celtic in the new season.

“He might have inherited a banger this time last year, but he soon signed up the boys who made Celtic into a sleek and smooth running machine which, from being barely in vision in the Ibrox wing mirrors, quickly got back onto the tails of Rangers and then overtook them at full pelt to speed away to victory.

“Postecoglou has to keep improving the car. He can’t sit stalled in this transfer window and he knows it. Nailing down Cameron Carter-Vickers is a great start.”

Sutton, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “Glasgow is a funny old city when it comes to football.

“If one team is up, it seems the other has to be down. There’s no in between. It’s black and white. Or green and blue, if you prefer.

“City rules state that if one is good, the other has to be bad.

“But I said it several times last season that wasn’t the case. Both teams were good. Rangers got to a Europa League Final and only lost on penalties.

“The five meetings between the sides last season brought two wins each and a draw. There was very little between them.

“If anything, it’s the perfect warning for Celtic. This time 12 months ago, Rangers were lording it.

HANDS UP IF YOU’RE HAPPY…Ange Postecoglou watched his new-look Celts win the Premiership and League Cup in his debut campaign.

“Almost everyone you listened to was saying it would take two or three years for Celtic to catch up with them as their wheels fell off and they dropped 25 points behind in losing the title.

“But history told you it’s not that simple. I’ve been there. I’ve lived it. I’ve been part of a big turnaround.”

Sutton added: “Rangers were guilty of complacency last summer when they thought they had their foot on Celtic’s throats.

“They paid the price for not strengthening properly when they were ahead and that is not a mistake Postecoglou can, or will, make.

“The gap between the teams at the moment is nothing like what it was 12 months ago and my old team has to drive smart and sharp to stay ahead.

“Postecoglou has given the club a fantastic platform to go on and make the additions that he wants.

“There is no need for juggling finances trying to draw up plans for different scenarios about whether they’ll be in the group stages of the Champions League or not.

“There’s no need to have to wait until the end of August and after the qualifiers to tell them if they’ll be at Europe’s top table next season.

STALEMATE…Ange Postecoglou and Giovanni van Bronckhorst after the 1-1 derby draw at Parkhead in May.

“Giovanni van Bronckhorst is not in a position when he can promise a signing target a place in the group stages of the Champions League, whereas Postecoglou doesn’t have that problem. He went last season and earned that conversation starter by winning the title.

“His record in recruitment spoke for itself during his first two windows. The signings have been outstanding. I don’t need to go through them all again, we know who they are and what they brought to the club.

“Van Bronckhorst may have blown the title lead last season, but he proved he can get Rangers going with the European work and the Scottish Cup win.

“There’s not six signings between them. NO CHANCE.

“It’s nowhere near that and Postecoglou seems too smart to think any differently.

“In any case, he won’t be bothered by what’s going on next to him in the pit lane.

“He’ll want to add and create again anyway to continue to shape and tweak a squad to make a mark in the Champions League.

“The Aussie has done the hard work by getting to the front. But Rangers will be firmly on Celtic’s tails.

“And it needs a window of sharp manoeuvring and no cutting corners for them to stay in the lead.”

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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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