Ange Postecoglou praised Celtic for putting on a show in difficult conditions after recording the biggest win in charge of his reign as manager. Celtic navigated the heatwave and plastic pitch at Rugby Park to thrash Kilmarnock and go top of the Premiership on goal difference above Rangers.
There was little doubt about the result after Kyogo Furuhashi finished with a penetrating move on seven minutes and the points were wrapped up at half-time thanks to Jota’s 30-yard strike and Jenz Moritz’s acrobatic finish. Celtic rediscovered an extra team after some second-half changes and substitutes Carl Starfelt and Giorgos Giakoumakis both scored, the latter with a header.
Postecoglou said: “We talked about it before the game. It wasn’t the easiest of conditions for our boys to play football both in terms of the temperature and the pitch. To the players’ credit, they kept their discipline and focus and committed to our style of football.
“There were a lot of excuses to look at this game as ‘three points and move on’ but we still wanted to put in a performance and I liked the players to do that. I thought the quality of our goals was excellent and the quality of our overall attacking play was good.”
Postecoglou admitted he enjoyed the post-match celebrations with the away fans. “They looked like they were having fun even before the game, and rightfully so. It’s always good because this is a game where it can turn into a bit of an ugly game, you win it and it’s not memorable in any way.
“But we don’t want to miss opportunities to give special moments to our fans and today was one of those days. Some of our goals really pleased our fans and for us it’s a very important message because we stick to our football.”
Starfelt scored his first goal for Celtic when he finished at the second effort from distance in his first appearance of the season following a hamstring injury. “He’s worked really hard to get back to a position where he’s available again,” Postecoglou said.
“Credit to him, he’s a very good professional. I’m really happy he got a goal – he tried really hard. It was probably the ugliest of the five, but probably the most significant.”
Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes was “embarrassed” by the scoreline. “For all the talent Celtic have, I was disappointed by the level of scoring we conceded,” he said.
“Two corners, three goals in the area of six. I need to watch Jota’s goal again but my first thought is that we should have saved it.
“Apart from Giakoumakis’ overhead kick, there were no real goals defined by the difference in quality. It was more our responsibility and lack of will and determination to deal with that situation. This is what worries me the most.
“It shouldn’t be 5-0 yet, although we’re not ready to face a Celtic side, that’s what disappoints me. It’s a shame but we have to dust ourselves off and hopefully next time we play in the Old Firm we’ll be more settled in the Premiership and better equipped to get a better result than we were today.”
There was an added blow with on-loan Reading defender Jeriel Dorsett limping off in the first half. Asked how he was, McInnes said: “It’s not good, he heard a pop and I think it’s some sort of ligament damage.
“It’s too early to make assumptions, but I think he will be out for a period of time, which is far from ideal. We were looking forward to working with him, he is a young, powerful and fast guy.
“We’ve still got time in the window to address one or two areas that we clearly need to address. Hopefully it won’t be too bad for the lad, but it doesn’t look too good in terms of the next few games, that’s for sure.”
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