Premiership table 'gives no guarantees' ahead of League Cup final

Celtic maintained control in the Premiership title race with a 4-0 victory over Aberdeen.

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou says table gives no guarantees ahead of Hampden Old Firm clash vs Rangers SNS Group

Ange Postecoglou dismissed suggestions that his Celtic side could gain any psychological advantage from going into next Sunday’s League Cup final with a nine-point lead over Rangers in the league.

The champions maintained control in the Premiership title race with a 4-0 victory over Aberdeen in Parkhead on Saturday.

Michael Beale has been unable to chip away at the deficit he inherited when his spell as Rangers manager began in earnest two months ago but only because of Celtic’s consistency, and Kyogo Furuhashi’s late equaliser at Ibrox on January 2.

And top spot in the table counted for little when Rangers beat Celtic at Hampden in the Scottish Cup semi-finals last April.

Postecoglou said: “Cup football is cup football. In any round you go in with the possibility that, irrespective of form, any team can win it.

“Even more so in a final. We played Hibs last year and it was a pretty tight game.

“So from our perspective we are not going into it thinking anything other than to we’ve got be the best we can be to get the job done. That’s what we do every week.”

Celtic effectively had the job done against the Dons inside 13 minutes when Reo Hatate netted the first of his double to add to Callum McGregor’s early opener. Liel Abada came off the bench to extend his side’s goal difference advantage over Rangers to 26.

The comprehensive win was achieved with Furuhashi on the bench for 71 minutes as Oh Hyeon-gyu started his first game for the club since his January move.

The 21-year-old South Korean did not get a chance to add to his first Celtic goal from the previous weekend but he was involved in the build-up to the second goal.

“I thought he did really well,” Postecoglou said. “It’s not easy for a young guy to come halfway round the world and adjust but he has tackled it really well.

“His link-up play was excellent and he was a bit unlucky that a couple of crosses just didn’t fall for him.

“He shows what he can bring to the team. He is a different type of striker to Kyogo and I thought some of the combinations with him were really exciting in terms of the future.

“We knew whatever he did would be a platform, he will improve, but I thought he did a good job for us.”

Aberdeen caretaker manager Barry Robson admitted there were signs of the fragiliity that saw the Dons suffer two thrashings in Edinburgh and a Scottish Cup exit at Darvel last month.

But he was encouraged by their second-half improvement and stressed that restoring confidence in the squad was never going to be a quick fix.

“It doesn’t just come back in one or two games,” he said. “I’ve been there as a player. It takes small steps.

“They are a top team. I played in some good Celtic teams here and they are a top team. They move you about and it’s hard to trigger presses.

“The pleasing thing for me is they came out again in the second half, we hung in there and fought.

“I said to them, ‘boys, let’s get ready for the next game, let’s go and do it and start moving up that table’.”

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