Ange Postecoglou claimed that Old Firm games are right up Alistair Johnston’s street after the robust Canada international put in a man-of-the-match performance in the 3-2 win over Rangers on Saturday.
Japan striker Kyogo Furuhashi scored a double at Parkhead – to make it five goals in his last three matches against Rangers, while taking his tally for the season to 28 – with Portuguese winger Jota getting the third.
In an enthralling encounter, Light Blues skipper James Tavernier scored a double to take his Gers goal tally to 100 but that could not stop the Hoops moving 12 points clear of their city rivals at the top of the cinch Premiership with seven fixtures remaining.
Right-back Johnston, who joined the Parkhead club from MLS side Montreal in January, put in an outstanding display full of spirit and determination and a delighted Postecoglou told Celtic’s official website: “I think he’s one that loves a battle and it’s fair to say that he enjoys that side of the game, and a game like that is tailor-made for him.
“He also showed composure at times when we needed it but there’s no doubt he’s got that real competitive edge to him and every team needs players like that, particularly in games like this, and credit to him.
“He’s been with us for about four months and he’s already played in these games three times, so he’s one that will have a very good career for this football club.
“It was obviously a game of great significance for a number of reasons and credit to the players, they found a way to get the result we needed. The game had a bit of everything.
“We had our moments and they were threatening from set-pieces, and causing us some problems, but with this group of players they’ll always find a way”.
A “hugely frustrated” Michael Beale was adamant that Rangers were on the wrong end of two key decisions in what was his first defeat in the league as Gers boss, the first at 0-0 when striker Alfredo Morelos had a ‘goal’ disallowed from a corner after referee Kevin Clancy saw an apparent foul on Johnston.
Beale also claimed the ball came off the arm of Jota before Furuhashi slammed in the second goal to make it 2-1. However, the former QPR boss told Rangers TV that there were positives to take from the game.
He said: “We are showing that we are making improvements. We are showing that we are gaining trust in the tactical ideas, the relationships on the pitch.
“It was fine margins. We don’t get anything for it but we will continue marching forward, for certain.”
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