Celtic defender’s insight into “brave” Ange Postecoglou approach: ‘Every player knows exactly what to do in their roles’

Celtic’s Anthony Ralston believes it is “credit” to Ange Postecoglou that his manager has been able to school him in a role that was previously alien to him. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

Results have determined that. But Anthony Ralston would contend that it is what has underpinned those results that has closed off any questioning. The Scotland international slotted in seamlessly to the Celtic side that dismantled Motherwell 4-0 on Sunday, having had to settle for a role on the bench as his rival for the right-back berth Josip Juranovic made a huge impact in the 3-0 slaying of Rangers in midweek.

Right across his team – with the exception of central defence – in the past week Postecoglou dropped players in and out as Celtic extended their recent rich streaks to 23 domestic games unbeaten, and five straight league successes – a quintet that has eased them to the top of the cinch Premiership. The quality of Celtic’s personnel has allowed for this fluidity, but so too has Postecoglou’s drilling of his men on the training pitch, Ralston maintains. “We’ve got a great squad and the good thing about it is that everybody’s ready to play when they’re called upon,” he said. “They know exactly what to do in their roles. We’re in it together and it’s important we carry on that way through rest of season.”

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Ralston exemplifies this. He had never previously been asked to be a full-back who would invert – essentially move off from his flank and operate as an extra midfelder – before Postecoglou pitched up, but it now appears second nature to him, Juranovic and, on the left, Greg Taylor and his understudy Liam Scales. “It’s a brave way of playing, coming inside and getting the ball. It’s not a way I’ve played before but it’s effective and I’m enjoying doing it,” the 23-year-old said. ““It comes with practising it on the training field and in games and getting the experience of being in positions I haven’t. Obviously, it’s credit to the manager that he’s coached me in that way to play a role I’ve never played. The same for other boys, not only in my position, but over in the other side at left-back – they too have adapted well. It’s a new way of playing and I’m getting used to it. It’s no longer alien for me. It’s a different way of playing and I am enjoying it.”

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