Ange Postecoglou praised his Celtic players for putting on a show against Kilmarnock after clinching the biggest away win of his tenure.
The Hoops navigated the heatwave and the plastic pitch of Rugby Park to beat Killie 5-0 and go top of the Premiership table on goal difference.
There was little doubt about the result after Kyogo Furuhashi scored within seven minutes and the points were wrapped up thanks to Jota’s 30-yard drive and Jenz Moritz’s acrobatic finish at half-time before Carl Starfelt fired home and Giorgos Giakoumakis scored an emphatic win completed an overhead kick.
Boss Postecoglou said: “It wasn’t the easiest conditions for our boys to play football, both in terms of temperature and pitch. You have to give the players credit for keeping their discipline and focus and committing to our style of football.
“There were plenty of excuses for us to just take this game as three points and hit the road, but we still wanted to perform and I was glad the players did that. I thought the quality of our goals was excellent and the quality of our overall attacking play was good.’
Substitute Starfelt scored his first goal for the Hoops after returning from a hamstring injury. Postecoglou said: “He’s worked really hard to get himself back into a position where he’s available again. I’m really happy that he scores a goal – he really tried very hard. It was probably the ugliest of the five but probably the most significant.”
Former Killie left-back Greg Taylor set up the first set when his measured pass smashed through Daizen Maeda down the left and he found Furuhashi to complete the post.
The second followed in the 35th minute when Jota collected Maeda’s pass and unleashed a powerful strike from 25 yards that fooled home keeper Sam Walker as it flew into the net.
It was 3-0 in first-half added time when Callum McGregor’s shot was blocked and Jenz hooked the loose ball into the net.
Oli Shaw forced Celtic keeper Joe Hart to make his only real save from the restart before Furuhashi almost made it 4-0 when his header hit the bar.
Starfelt added a fourth when he reacted quickly to force the ball over the line after Walker saved his first try, and Giakoumakis completed the effort when he landed a header on the spin.
Home coach Derek McInnes was “embarrassed” by the loss and felt his side had let themselves down. He said: “Despite all the talent Celtic have, I was disappointed with the amount of goals we lost. Two corners, three goals in the six-yard box. I need to see the Jota Gate again but my first thought is that we should have saved it.
“Apart from Giakoumakis’ overhead kick, there weren’t any goals that stood out for the difference in quality. It shouldn’t be 5-0. I’m embarrassed but we have to dust ourselves off and hopefully next time we play Old Firm we’ll be better prepared than we were today.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/08/15/celtic-manager-postecoglou-praises-his-side-after-kilmarnock-win-17186287/ Celtic manager Postecoglou hails his side after Kilmarnock win | Soccer