Ange Postecoglou lauded Celtic after their hard-fought Scottish Cup win over Rangers offered the Bhoys “the chance to do something special” in their treble pursuit.
Jota’s first-half header was the difference in Sunday’s 1-0 semi-final win over Rangers at Hampden Park, teeing up a meeting with Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the final.
Just one win shy from sealing the Scottish Premiership and with the Scottish League Cup already secured, Postecoglou believes Celtic are on the brink of history.
“These things you have to earn,” the Celtic manager told Viaplay. “It’s not just rolling up and hoping it happens.
“Rangers put in everything to try and stop us. The boys were brilliant in attack when they needed to – and defend when needed to.
“You have to enjoy it when it’s hard-earned. We’ve given ourselves the chance to do something special.”
Yet Postecoglou insisted his side are far from the finished article, despite hailing Celtic’s gritty character.
“It’s not just about the football and individuals, but collectively, they take hold of games and have that resilience – that’s the growth of this side,” the Australian added.
“We’re not a top team yet. We’ve still a bit to do, but you have to embrace every aspect of the game to be one of those sides and we’re doing that.”
Booking our spot for the #ScottishCup Final! #CELRAN | #COYBIG pic.twitter.com/bJSHnnhCxX
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 30, 2023
Rangers manager Michael Beale pulled no punches in his assessment, suggested his team have let down their supporters with their endeavours this campaign.
Beale told Viaplay: “Over the season, we’ve not been good enough. We’ve fallen short in winning silverware for our fans and the club.
“We played well in the game, we were in the game the whole time. We don’t want to feel like this this time next season.”
James Tavernier hit the post as Rangers looked to fight back, while Scott Arfield twice went close as Joe Hart stood firm in the Celtic goal.
A momentary lapse in concentration proved Rangers’ downfall when Daizen Maeda latched onto a loose ball and Jota headed in his right-wing cross.
“We had as many chances as we probably wanted today and it comes down to us switching off in the moment,” Beale added. “In their box, Joe made good saves, we missed on the rebound too.
“We played well in the game, we were in the game the whole time, so we’re disappointed to not get a result as I thought we performed well enough to get one. Today is a lot of what ifs.”
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