WITH Celtic safely through to the Scottish Cup final thanks to their hard-fought win over Rangers on Sunday and on the verge of a world record eighth treble, Ange Postecoglou could be excused if he sat back and reflected on a job well done.

The Parkhead club will retain the cinch Premiership title if they beat Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday and complete another clean sweep of domestic silverware if they defeat Championship rivals Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden in June.

Even by the Glasgow giants’ recent standards – and they are bidding to lift every trophy in this country for the fifth time in seven years – it promises to be a momentous campaign.

But Postecoglou – whose “we never stop” command to his players, given during a “mic’d-up” training session at Lennoxtown shortly after he arrived in Scotland in 2021, has become something of a mantra for his all-conquering side – is acutely aware that he must practice what he preaches.

The Greek-Australian knows full well that he can, despite the success that he has overseen to date and high regard which supporters currently hold him in, ill-afford to become complacent and must maintain their dominance.

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Michael Beale, the Rangers manager, vowed there would be the biggest rebuild in many years at Ibrox this summer and admitted that up to a dozen players could both leave and come in.

However, his opposite number stressed that Celtic scouting and recruitment staff have already identified numerous signing targets and emphasised that plans to bolster his squad even further for the 2023/24 campaign are well underway.

"They have to be,” he said. “We try to come out of every window stronger than when we went into it. I think we have done that from the first window I had, to last January, to last summer, to this January.

“Every window you can see we are making strides forward. We will do the same in the next window to make sure we come out of it stronger than we were when we went in.

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"To me, that is the only way you can measure what you are doing, by progress. Are we a better side than we were last year? Absolutely. But we need to be a better side in 12 months’ time if we want to be in this kind of position to challenge for honours.

“If we stay where we are right now there is every chance that someone might overtake us. We constantly have to be looking to improve. And to do that you can't settle where you are."

Postecoglou has shown he has an eye for a good player since taking over at Celtic: Joe Hart, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Carl Starfelt, Josip Juranovic, Alistair Johnston, Reo Hatate, Matt O’Riley, Daizen Maeda, Liel Abada, Jota and Kyogo Furuhashi have all excelled.

The 57-year-old appreciates the money that he has been given by his employers to spend in the transfer market since he arrived – but he revealed that he still feels intense pressure to use the funds at his disposal wisely. 

“It keeps me up at night!” he said. “I don't want to get things wrong. When you take that responsibility on to yourself, you need to make sure you are always doing the right thing by the football club. That is what I have tried to do.”

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Celtic lavished over £12m on Cameron Carter-Vickers and Jota, who had spent the 2021/22 campaign on loan from Spurs and Benfica respectively, last summer and the duo have more than justified the substantial outlay which it took to secure their services since.

Centre half Carter-Vickers was a deserved recipient of the Man of the Match award against Rangers at the weekend and winger Jota scored the only goal of the game.

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“When you look at that window, it may seem like we didn't do too much,” he said. “But those two signings were pretty critical.

“To be fair, the club backed me. They were significant outlays for a club our size. But we tried before we bought! So we knew what we were getting. And more importantly for me, I knew that they would be better. They are at that age.

“It wasn't just about spending the money to get players back who did well for us last year. I knew that they could be better this year and they have been tremendous assets for us."

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Postecoglou added: "It's doesn’t need any arm-twisting, but it does require trust and faith on both sides. The club needs to sort of trust my judgement in that and I need to trust the club is going to make the right decision.

“It isn't limitless in what we can spend. And I knew that those were going to be our two major acquisitions and we weren't going to have a lot of money outside of that to spend. But I thought we were getting two very good footballers who would make us better than last year. Everyone was aligned with that."

Celtic have made a series of outstanding signings in the past two years without having a sporting director in place – but Postecoglou believes many people behind-the-scenes at Parkhead deserve enormous credit for the impact their recruits have made.

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"It's an important part of my role,” he said. “You gain the trust of the supporters and also the people you work with and work for, that your judgement is going to be good on those areas.

“It's not foolproof, we all make mistakes, but for the most part we have been very successful in identifying the right kind of people to our football club. For me, that is all a manager can ask for, that support. And I've had that.

"But please don't be mistaken, I am no one-man show. I have fantastic people around me who provide the information that allows me to make the best decisions.

“That's what I do, I make decisions. But I don't do that in isolation. I have fantastic people in every department: coaching, sports science, medical, scouting, analysis, media. I will take the responsibility, but I'm not doing this on my own.”