Ange Postecoglou praised his Celtic side for a scintillating first half performance as they beat Hibs 3-1 to move within two points of Rangers at the top of the league.
Goals from Anthony Ralston, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Kyogo Furuhashi in the first half hour gave Celtic a commanding lead at Easter Road and though Martin Boyle pulled a goal back, the visitors were comfortable as they took three valuable points.
Postecoglou acknowledged that the hosts made things more difficult after the break but said the opening period was as good as he has seen his side.
He said: “The first half was outstanding, probably the best football we’ve played all year, especially away from home against a good team. The second half was a bit different.
“We had to defend a bit more because they opened up and threw more bodies forward. Joe Hart had to make one good save in the second half but I thought we handled it well. There were positive signs in both halves about the team we want to be.”
The Australian refused to place too much importance on narrowing the gap at the top with so many games still to play in the Premiership but was happy that his side are showing clear progress and were delivering results .
“We’re happy because we’ve won at a difficult place and had a good performance,” he added. “It’s always great to send our fans home happy. It’s important to repay them and that’s why we acknowledged them at the end.
“It’s helping us now that we’re a lot more settled and we’ve got some options within the 11 and being able to change the team. We’ve just got to keep improving. This was a good performance but we know we can still do better.”
For Hibs, the loss was a fourth defeat in a row and Jack Ross said he took full responsibility and hoped that the support would direct any ire at him and not put pressure on the players.
“Criticism comes in the wake of poor runs,” Ross said. “At the moment I think supporters should direct it at me.
“It’s my team, my responsibility, my preparation, my direction.
“The players need them behind them at the moment. So any frustration in the stadium or on any forum, direct it at me and support the players. Give them that backing.”