Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou believes Sunday’s Old Firm clash against Rangers is a chance for his players to “establish their football” and build momentum.
After a rocky start to competitive games, including a Champions League exit and defeat to Hearts on the opening weekend of the Premiership, Postecoglou’s Celtic have found a groove, winning six out of seven games and scoring freely.
After securing Europa League group stage football, the Australian now takes his team across the city to Ibrox hoping to land an early blow in the race for the title.
Postecoglou was reluctant to put too much weight on the result of the derby but believes it is an opportunity to continue the positivity around his side, even if he doesn’t believe the game will have a major bearing on the season this early on.
“It’s August,” he said. “I know people like putting defining moments in at all different times. There will be defining moments all throughout the season.
“What’s important is we have had a really positive month so far and in terms of improvement in our performances and getting reward for that. Sunday is another opportunity to build on that momentum for us.
“It’s the end of August and there is still a hell of a lot of football to be played. And from our perspective, either way, we are not going to get too carried away with whatever the outcome is.
“We want to continually improve our performances and Sunday is a great chance for us to establish our football against a very good opponent in a difficult environment. What a great test it’s going to be for us.”
Defeat to Alkmaar on Thursday night brought a couple of minor injuries to his players but Postecogflou is hoping not to have any of his side missing for Ibrox, and could see James Forrrest or James McCarthy fit and ready for selection, as well as being able to call on new signing Josip Juranovic.
“Out of last night, obviously Greg Taylor has got his shoulder problem,” the manager said. “It looks like it is nothing too significant so there is still a chance for Sunday.
“Kyogo (Furuhashi) got his usual bruises and knocks. He is getting tested out physically every game, I think people are figuring out that he is one of the ones they need to stop and try to find, shall I say, creative ways to do that. But he usually bounces back pretty well so I am hopeful he will be fine.”
Postecoglou will also have an eye on any transfer developments as the clock ticks down on the window closing this Tuesday.
“We still have a few days to go so I expect there to still be some activity,” he said. “There could be ins and outs, we will wait and see, but we are still working on a couple of things.
“Obviously as the timeline gets tighter things get a little bit more challenging but hopefully we will still have some activity between now and the end of the window.
“What’s going to happen in the next few days, to be fair I haven’t had a lot of clarity in this last month or so, things have been a bit murky with everything that’s been happening. I don’t expect to be too clear cut what happens over the next few days.
“We have just got to be agile and alert and when things happen be ready to act on them in terms of players coming in and going out.
“We want to be in a strong position at the end of this transfer window. It’s been a hectic time for us but I think we have done a pretty good job so far and we really want to come out of this window to be in the strongest possible position.”