IN the early days of his tenure, when Ange Postecoglou had a lot of doubters regarding his managerial prowess, I firmly maintained that he was talented enough to take Celtic forward. I think that this was confirmed last Sunday when he led the club to the first trophy of the season.

It was a very interesting final and certainly the second half was exciting and full of key incidents. 

In my pre-match summary, I was sure that Celtic would win because of the strength of their creative play of late but was also mindful to categorise how key Jota and Kyogo have been this season. I felt that if they were both unavailable for the final, Celtic would have a major goal scoring deficiency on the day.

I had been informed though, through a source, that Postecoglou was keen to have Kyogo in the team even though he wasn’t fully fit. This turned out to be a crucial decision when you consider how this major victory was achieved.  

Celtic were the better team throughout but there’s no question that Kyogo was the total match-winner with two wonderful finishes when the pressure was on. The first goal, coming so soon after Hibs had taken the lead, was an immediate turning point to the one that had just happened in Hibs favour.

The second goal was that of a top-class striker as it demonstrated a high level of both confidence and composure. He was fully aware of where the keeper was and with relative ease he coolly chipped it into the net.

The fact that these two goals were in a cup final and at pressure moments in the game, shows the true ability and innovative mindset of Kyogo - which I feel puts him into the major league of Celtic heroes.   

I really do believe that if Hibs had settled better for a period after taking the shock lead then they would have defended better and Celtic’s performance might certainly have become more nervous as full-time approached.

It’s always maintained that teams are most vulnerable after scoring a goal and this might indeed apply to Hibs last Sunday. They switched off, almost straight from the Celtic kickoff when they should have got themselves organised to deal with the main danger of their cup victory being thwarted - Kyogo.

Both goals were almost identical from a defensive point of view as the centre-backs didn’t introduce one of the three options that could have prevented these goals. They could have had a man marking him or played a deeper back line to deal with a long through ball, or they should have stepped up in line to play him offside as he was looking to run in behind the defence.

These were major errors and I wonder if this was part of the post-match discussion in the Hibs dressing room. I know from my playing days that although it’s a team game, personal or even group errors are brought up in a heated environment when a defeat has been suffered.  

Overall, it was certainly a very enjoyable second half and right up to the added-on time, there was still a possibility that Hibs would get an equaliser. You could see their dismay when the full-time whistle went as in the closing minutes, they had missed a couple of good chances as well as having a reasonable penalty claim refused. 

Postecoglou was very celebratory at the end as this victory establishes him with the supporters, but it also puts him in a strong position with the Celtic directors. He’ll expect this will encourage them to make the funds available for him in January to strengthen the squad for the title challenge that lies ahead.

He certainly needs cover for Kyogo and Jota because Wednesday night’s match with St Mirren proved what a problem it would be if both were unavailable for any length of time. 


Despite the attention this week relating to the conclusion of the Premier Sports Cup, the excitement relating to the Championship can’t be ignored.

I wrote some time ago about the credit due to Dick Campbell because he had part-timers Arbroath up challenging for promotion. He’s now got them sitting at the very top, which is a brilliant achievement.

There are however, only three points separating the top four sides and indeed, fifth-placed Kilmarnock are five points off the top with a game in hand.

It’s a great contest but nevertheless, we saw the departure of Tommy Wright this week despite Killie still being very much in the frame for promotion. It’s a similar situation in the bottom half of the league with three managers - Peter Grant, Jim Duffy and Gus MacPherson - having been sacked already despite only four points separating the bottom four and all still being in a position to avoid relegation.

When the club's league standings didn’t appear to be putting any of their positions in peril, it clearly demonstrates the pressure that managers are under these days.