Ange Postecoglou stressed the importance of his whole Celtic squad after taking a step closer to the cinch Premiership title with a scintillating 7-0 win over St Johnstone on Saturday.
Goals from Reo Hatate, Giorgos Giakoumakis and Daizen Maeda gave the relentless Hoops a comfortable interval lead.
Josip Juranovic added a fourth from the spot early in the second half and Matt O’Riley scored twice in three minutes before fellow substitute Liel Abada hammered in a seventh.
There was an added bonus for Celtic fans when Japan striker Kyogo Furuhashi came off the bench in the second half to make his first appearance since Boxing Day when he aggravated a hamstring problem.
It was Postecoglou’s biggest win as Parkhead boss and he spoke about the quality of his bench as being “super important”.
The former Australia manager said: “It is not just about game day.
“That is the result of a week’s work and the guys who are on the bench and not involved today, (Anthony) Ralston didn’t get on, Yosuke Ideguchi didn’t get on, Nir Bitton, Welshy (Stephen Welsh) is not in the squad, James Forrest, Mikey Johnston, every day at training all these guys are producing fantastic levels and I could pick any one of them.
“So the fact that they are all working that hard at training means that our preparation for every game is where it should be and come game day, everyone is ready to perform.
“We don’t discount anyone’s efforts. The ones that play get the rewards and accolades but behind the scenes my respect goes to the guys who probably don’t get the opportunities they deserve and every day they want to be part of something special and successful and they are willing to make that sacrifice.”
Rattled St Johnstone were left five points ahead of bottom side Dundee going into the split and captain Liam Gordon wants to quickly consign the Parkhead result and performance to the past.
He told SaintsTV: “The boys are disappointed in ourselves, it was not up to the standards we can play at.
“Bitterly disappointed but we put it behind us as we have too much at stake over the next month or so.
“It is all about moving on and looking forward.”