Celtic: Tom Rogic and Anthony Ralston have revived jobs under Ange Postecoglou
Anthony Ralston was “great” when Celtic beat AZ Alkmaar. And could Tom Rogic be the “highlight of the season”?
Two players who say, before the ball was kicked in the name, were on the edge. And yet the two were suddenly taken over and made a huge impact on the regenerated Ange Postecoglou group.
After a good start under Australia, Celtic have now won five games in a row, scoring 18 goals. They, like Rogic and Ralston, have been revived.
The 2-0 first-leg win in the first leg of the Europa League against their Dutch visitors proved that, but how did the two unexpected players stand out?
‘Ralston is getting better and better’
Ralston appeared only once last season – and that came as a team explosion forced him to be separated from other people. The fact that he started the campaign as Celtic’s first right-back has been touted as a threat to their recruitment.
As a Celtic school product, he spent the 2019-20 season on loan at St Johnstone without much fun, but Postecoglou’s training now looks to have made him a member of the Scottish national team.
Ralston netted one goal against Hearts, followed by another against Dundee, and everywhere against AZ.
He was able to help his defenders in charge by taking the ball and removing passing opponents, and he showed good speed and awareness to produce important blocks, until he came up with the right to get Odsonne Edouard later.
“Ralston just seems to be getting better,” Scotland striker James McFadden told Sportsound. “His confidence is growing.”
Postecoglou agreed, but said Celtic needed to help the 22-year-old get out with other people.
“He was very defensive and had a ball. He has always been there,” said the Celtic manager. “We need to support him and this team of players. We can’t expect him to play this way every game.
“It’s not about bringing in people to take the place of others, it’s about bringing in players who will appreciate what we have and build a strong team.”
Celtic: Rogic is impressive outside of football
Rogic is a fan favorite at Celtic Park, with his sharp style that advertises touch, control and his excellent shooting.
However, he has been sidelined for the past two campaigns after injuries in 2019-20 and the failure of the last term on the hard side.
Against AZ, he produced a trade sign called a waltz away from three opponents before bringing a beautiful cross for Kyogo Furuhashi to finish. It was a normal Rogic move, but the type he has not produced recently.
“I think this relationship between Rogic and Kyogo will be one of the highlights this season if it continues,” former Celtic goalkeeper Pat Bonner told Sportsound.
But it was not just the touch around the box that Australia introduced, but also the level of his work. It’s an unusual feature he is known for, but his boss wants it as part of his high tempo style.
Rogic has also played four times for Celtic, and only two of his teammates have participated in many duels. He was also dropped deep at another point for the team to move forward, building their attacking game together.
“What impresses me the most about Rogic is not his passing, it’s the way he reacts when he loses the ball. He goes straight behind the player in charge,” Bonner said during the game. “If he can do that he becomes a key player in the team’s effort.”
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