Celtic can leapfrog Rangers to the top of the cinch Premiership with a win over their Old Firm rivals on Wednesday night but boss Ange Postecoglou insists only final league placings count.
Liel Abada’s last-gasp strike against Dundee United at Parkhead gave the 10-man Hoops – after stand-in skipper Nir Bitton was sent off in the 81st minute for picking up a second yellow card – a 1-0 win over a well-organised side.
The dramatic victory moved Celtic to within two points of the league leaders, who drew 3-3 with Ross County in Dingwall earlier in the day.
But Postecoglou, when asked about the chance to go top, said: “It won’t mean anything significant because that’s not the end game. You don’t get a trophy for being first in February.
“Our goal and mission is to be there at the end. It’s not that it’s an insignificant moment, it’s just that we have to keep going.
“It’s not like when you are in first place that we will get an advantage over teams and it will be easy for us.
“It’s going to be a battle every game. If we somehow think getting to first place is an achievement or we get comfortable or get some sort of an advantage we fall into the wrong trap.
“We just have to be relentless, our aim is to keep playing our style of football as well as we can and keep getting better and individuals keep getting better.
“The new players are beginning to understand that the expectations are there all the time, they don’t ease, playing a couple of good games doesn’t give you any latitude against any opposition not to perform again.
“The players have embraced that so Wednesday night our intent is to come here and play better than we did today, win the game, but then dust ourselves off and go again.”
Nevertheless, Postecoglou was delighted with the way his side kept persevering in their bid to get the breakthrough.
He said: “It was probably just a continuation of the spirit and the willingness of the players to find a way.
“It wasn’t a great day for us, especially first half when we didn’t have the intensity and tempo in our football to put them consistently under pressure.
“Having said that we created enough chances but when the ball is not going in and the keeper is pulling off some outstanding saves you just hope the players maintain their composure and then we got the red card.
“But the consistent theme over the last three or four months is that the players find a way and they did that again today”.
United boss Tam Courts claimed his side, who drew 1-1 with Celtic at Parkhead in September, deserved to take another point back to Tannadice.
He said: “I think we were probably (worthy of a point) in terms of effort, commitment of players and executing a game plan really well.
“Celtic had a lot of control, crosses and attempts at goal. But we were comfortable in our shape.
“So I’m bitterly disappointed that we’ve lost it so late. My only frustration is that we didn’t sustain enough attacks and cause Celtic a great deal of problems.
“We caused them more problems at Parkhead earlier in the season.
“But in terms of endeavour and what we put in, I think we more than merited a point but Celtic will think with their possession and how often they attacked our goal they merited the goal at the end.”
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