ANGE POSTECOGLOU witnessed Celtic dominate Ross County with 77 per cent possession in Dingwall yesterday.

However, with only six minutes of the regulation 90 to play, the scoreline was tied at 1-1 and the champions were in danger of dropping two crucial points in their second Premiership outing of the season.

Malky Mackay’s side hardly got across the halfway line in a first-half that finished goalless.

The breakthrough came three minutes after the turnaround when Callum McGregor and Filipe Jota combined in a slick move on the left wing before the Portuguese flyer whipped over an inviting cross and Kyogo Furuhashi drilled a low 12-yard drive behind the helpless Ross Laidlaw.

HIGHLAND FLING…Ange Postecoglou displays delight in Dingwall.

That strike made the scoreline a bit more realistic, but Alex Iacovitti headed in a dramatic equaliser before the hour mark when he rose unchallenged to knock the ball beyond a startled Joe Hart.

Moments later, the 75 times-capped England international produced a wonder save to deny the Highlanders a second goal when he demonstrated remarkable reflexes to block a ferocious free-kick from Owura Edwards.

The Parkhead men retaliated and on-loan central defender Moritz Jenz powered in a header in the 84th minute and Liel Abada curled in the third in stoppage-time.

After the smoke of battle had cleared on a windy day in the Highlands, Postecoglou said: “We showed our football last year, but also the resilience and determination to overcome any challenge.

THINK ABOUT IT…Joe Hart issues instructions to the players in front of him.

“We haven’t lost that, that’s still there within this group.

“When you believe in something as strongly as these guys do, whatever impediment there is in front of us, they feel confident they can overcome.

“The game of football is funny. You can dominate a game and should be comfortably ahead.

“Then they get a corner and score. You are looking for a reaction – and the reaction was first class.

“Credit to the players, from start to finish we played it on our terms.

“We were patient when we needed to be and the response to their goal was outstanding.

“We stuck to the task, played our football, scored another good goal and even then at 2-1 there was no thought of stopping there.”

NUMBER ONE…Kyogo Furuhashi fires Celtic in front.

NUMBER TWO…time to rise and shine for new Bhoy Moritz Jenz with a powerful header.

NUMBER THREE…Liel Abada curls in the killer goal watched by Giorgos Giakoumakis and Ross Couty defenders.

It took a header from Anthony Ralston in the seventh minute of stoppage-time to give the Hoops a dramatic 2-1 win at the same venue before the turn of the year and Postecoglou, speaking to the Scottish Sun on Sunday, reflected: “Was it similar to December? Our football was a lot better this time.

“People can look at the result and think it was close.

“There was an edge to the game because of the late goal. I felt we were really in control of the game.”

Postecoglou also singled out Jota for extra praise after the former Benfica winger assisted in all three goals.

The manager added: “Jota is earning the assists in the right way, he’s working hard.

MAKING A SONG AND DANCE ABOUT IT…cheerleader Kyogo Furuhashi takes the spotlight.

“He has joined this club permanently and he wants to be the best he can be and show people there’s another level to him.

“On a difficult day on a tight pitch with the wind, with those kind of players it takes the real special ones to be able to still find and create space for themselves.

“He was put under a lot of pressure any time he had the ball at his feet.

“He’d take people on and they committed quite a few fouls on him and others because of that.

“It was another strong performance from him.”


About Author


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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