Ange Postecoglou feels Celtic have improved big-game mentality this season
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou pointed to his side’s improved big-game mentality as a key factor in them going at least one stage further than last season.
The cinch Premiership leaders set up the chance to win a treble when they beat Rangers 1-0 at Hampden on Sunday to secure a Scottish Cup final date against Inverness.
Celtic have now gone six derby games unbeaten since losing 2-1 after extra-time against Rangers in last year’s Scottish Cup semi-finals.
Postecoglou said: “Twelve months ago, when we lost here, it was another tight game, but I thought last year Rangers were a very good team and they had that resilience in them. That’s why they got to a European final.
“They did what they needed to do to get the job done on the day.
“That’s been our evolution as a team this year. It’s not easy to develop that because you need time and you need to be put in that situation as often as possible. But this group has really learned quickly that when you get to these big games, the games of consequence, you have to do what’s required.
“That’s what we did and I think we have been doing it all year.
“It’s where the team is at in terms of their progression. They understand that in the big games you need to show every facet of your game and that’s what we did.”
Celtic will clinch the title if they beat Hearts at Tynecastle next Sunday and they then take on Rangers at Ibrox.
If they win both those games, the rest of the league season is likely to be geared towards trying to break the top-flight record points total.
That could help keep Celtic firmly in the groove as they prepare to face an Inverness team that beat Falkirk 3-0 in the other semi-final.
“I watched the game and it was a decent game of football,” Postecoglou said. “I thought both teams played some good football on a big occasion. We will look forward to it.
“What we have done is give ourselves a chance to have a special season.
“We haven’t done that yet though. We have still got to win the league and play off in the cup final. When it comes around we will be ready for it.”