Ange Postecoglou calls for an immediate improvement from Celtic

The Celtic boss saw his side drop points at home in the league for the first time this season.

Ange Postecoglou calls for an immediate improvement from Celtic SNS Group

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou challenged his players to immediately improve on their below-par display against Motherwell and get back to their best against Rangers.

The cinch Premiership leaders dropped points at home for the first time this season after in-form Motherwell striker Kevin van Veen cancelled out Callum McGregor’s early opener.

Celtic can still set a record points total if they win all five remaining matches but their main concern is making sure they find their form when they take on Rangers at Hampden in the Scottish Cup semi-finals next Sunday.

Postecoglou said: “Look, every game is an opportunity for us to improve. We will do what we normally do, we will review the game.

“I’m sure the lads are disappointed but we have just got to lick our wounds and get on with it.

“That’s the game of football, you can’t just expect everything to run smoothly.

“It’s a little bit of a challenge for us now to get over this disappointment and focus on a big game next week.”

Celtic were missing the attacking strengths of Reo Hatate, Jota, Liel Abada and James Forrest.

Daizen Maeda got in behind the Motherwell defence twice in the first half but could not take advantage and substitute Rocco Vata set up some chances, notably for fellow substitute Oh Hyeon-gyu, who headed wide from close range.

But Motherwell were not opened up with any regularity and Postecoglou will be keen to get some of those missing attacking players back for the cup tie.

“They are all pretty close but they need to train all week to be available,” he said. “We will see how they all are.”

Van Veen took his tally for the season to 24 in all competitions, hitting the 20-mark in the league, with his ninth in the last six games.

The 31-year-old Dutchman has a year left on his Fir Park contract but his exceptional form is likely to see him being in demand in the summer.

Manager Stuart Kettlewell said: “There is no talk of Kev going elsewhere. I have a brilliant relationship with him.

“He loves his team-mates, they love him and I know that is the PC way to answer but is genuine.

“Kevin has found a place with us, it is a home, the supporters love him and we want to have him so there is nothing to suggest to me that is going to change.

“I know throughout Kevin’s career – he will speak about it himself – there have been times when he has not been the best version of himself.

“Now he has found a place where he is coming up with the goods and he values my feelings towards him but also the feelings of his team-mates and the supporters and I think that is massive.

“When you have got that, the grass is not always greener on the other side.”

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