CELTIC PARK exploded in joy at the skill and flair of Jota and Kyogo Furuhashi’s finishing prowess as the two combined for their side’s crucial opening goal against Ferencvaros.

As much as manager Ange Postecoglou also enjoyed that magical moment, it was the less flashy side of the pair’s performances that had him purring in appreciation.

Jota and Furuhashi were the names on the lips of the Celtic fans as over 50,000 of them danced into the Glasgow rain, but Postecoglou was at pains to point out that it was their selfless work off the ball for their team that ultimately allowed them to express themselves when they did get the opportunity.

When asked for his thoughts on Jota’s performance, Postecoglou said: “He was great, but I look at the other side of things well. The understanding that he needs to work hard defensively for us.

“The key with attacking players like him and the others we have brought in is that they need to invest in our football. That is, they need to work hard in certain areas and, if they do, they will get their rewards with the way we play.

“We are always going to be a team that wants to attack and wants to play to their strengths as opposed to knocking long balls and asking them to challenge for 50-50s.

“To do that you have to do the other side and I think he’s getting better at that. The understanding that he needs to work hard to pressure the opposition. Kyogo and Liel (Abada) are the same.

“We knew he was very talented and that’s why we brought him in. But I also knew the play our football would suit him provided he bought into the other stuff.”

Furuhashi, for his part, had been quiet in an attacking sense against the deep-lying visitors in the first half, but Postecoglou was delighted that he eventually was rewarded for the shift he was putting in for the team.

“He worked really hard,” he said. “That’s part of the process.

“When you’re playing against good teams, they’re not going to give you the space. In the first half, he was working hard both defensively and making runs. He couldn’t get through because the space wasn’t there but that’s part of it. You just have to keep going.

“He’s always a threat. I thought it was a brilliant goal. We played ourselves out of a tight area which is what we like to do. Then the individual brilliance of Jota with the ball and you can see what Kyogo’s like in full flight. To take that ball and put it away.

“He will get better as he gets more accustomed to life and the football here. I was really pleased that he got the rewards for his hard work.”

Overall, Postecoglou believed that the two goal margin of victory was the very least his players merited for their performance.

“It was well deserved for sure,” he said. “I don’t think there is any doubt about that. We controlled the game really well right from the start.

“They’re a good team. They showed that against Leverkusen and Betis. We controlled the first half. They had to work really hard to stifle us. “We kind of knew they would tire in the second half because they were working so hard. The game opened up, we got a really good goal and after that we could have had a couple more.

“Credit to the players. They stuck to their task and were really disciplined right to the end.”

That discipline in their defending hasn’t always been their hallmark this term to date, but the Celtic manager was encouraged by the way his team restricted Ferencvaros to very few opportunities.

“To me, it’s not about clean sheets,” Postecoglou said. “It’s how we defend.

“You can keep a clean sheet and the opposition have a load of chances. Leverkusen kept a clean sheet [at Celtic Park] and I don’t think it was because of good defending. It was outstanding goalkeeping.

“We defended really well today as a team. We worked really hard. Our striker, our midfielders really made sure that they didn’t have too much access through the centre of the park. Then our back four and Joe (Hart) were really solid when we needed.

“There were a couple of key moments. Tony Ralston’s interception was crucial and Joe made one really good save. Overall our defending as a team was good. It was good against Motherwell as well. When you get clean sheets that way, it’s pleasing.”

With their first win in the section on the board, Postecoglou is now hoping to challenge Real Betis and Bayer Leverkusen to reach the knockout stages of the competition.

“There’s no reason why we can’t,” he said. “We went to Betis and took the game to them. It’s still a game I thought we should have got something out of.

“I know we lost it having made a couple of mistakes defensively which cost us, but that gave us belief we can match the best teams even away from home.

“It is not going to be easy in Budapest, but it gives us an opportunity. We had to win this one to keep our hopes alive.

“We weren’t shying away from the fact it was imperative we got three points and we did that.”