Ange Postecoglou has hailed last season’s League Cup victory as the springboard to Celtic’s Premiership success as he prepares to begin their defence of the trophy in Dingwall.
The champions came back from a goal down to beat Hibernian 2-1 in the 2021 final thanks to a double from Kyogo Furuhashi as Postecoglou secured his first piece of silverware in Scotland.
At the time of the game in December Celtic were trailing Rangers in the league but following a 3-0 at Parkhead in February the Hoops leapfrogged their city rivals and stayed on top of the pile for the rest of the season.
The manager has credited the trophy success as giving his side the belief and appetite to go and win more as he gets ready for the challenge of Ross County on Wednesday night.
He said: “I think it was a significant trophy for us last year because we had a challenging start to the year but winning a trophy added belief into the group about the direction we were heading.
“It was important to win it but that’s the nature of the club that irrespective of my feelings on a cup, the expectations are the same where you try and win every game and every competition you’re in.”
Celtic face Malky Mackay’s men in a tricky third round tie and the Australian knows they will have to be at their best to progress past the Highlands side.
He said: “It’s a challenging fixture, they are a hard team to play against and in a cup competition, you know every opponent is a potential pitfall so you have to be at your best.
“Everyone pulled up fine from the weekend. Joe Hart had a few stitches in his head and that was the main thing, but everyone pulled up okay.
“Giorgos Giakoumakis is back with us in training, so we have a fully fit squad.
“I’ll make some changes, I don’t know how many but it’s about putting out a team to reach the levels we need to get to win a difficult game.
“It’s a quick turnaround to Saturday and Ross County away is difficult anyway because you get back in the early hours of the morning, so with all that in mind we will make some changes but with the view of performing at the levels we need to.”
The Premiership champions are fresh off a record breaking 9-0 away win over Dundee United as they prepare for a hectic week ahead with Rangers and Real Madrid both set to visit the east end of Glasgow.
On the Tannadice victory Postecoglou said: “It was a good day for us, our performance was really good and the quality of our goals was really good.
“The pleasing thing for us is that the goals came from stuff we work on every day.
“I thought it was a good strong collective effort around our football, we were relentless with it until the final whistle which was pleasing.
“It was a great day and I keep saying to the players that every game provides an opportunity to lay down a marker and create something special and you don’t want to dismiss any fixture, you want to try and be the best you can be.
“I guess that’s why it does go into the record books and the players can be proud they contributed to something that hasn’t been done before but our attention quickly turns to Ross County.”