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‘Laser focused’ Celtic closing in on Scottish title


Glasgow (AFP) – Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou hailed his side’s focus as the Hoops moved to the brink of the Scottish Premiership title with a 2-0 win at Ross County.

Kyogo Furuhashi marked his first start in four months with the opening goal before Jota forced home the second late on to restore a six-point lead over Rangers with four games to play.

Given Celtic’s 19-goal advantage on goal difference, victory in next weekend’s Old Firm derby at Celtic Park will virtually guarantee the title for the Hoops.

That would mark a remarkable turnaround in Postecoglou’s first season in charge after Rangers romped to the title by 25 points last season.

“You look at our record and the challenges we’ve had throughout that time, the players have been laser focused,” said Postecoglou.

“I’m not surprised, but very proud. It’s one of those where sometimes I sit back and just think about what this group of men have achieved in such a short space of time.”

Celtic dropped just two points in 14 league games since Furuhashi limped off with a serious hamstring injury on Boxing Day.

But the Japan international showed what the league leaders have been missing as it took less than 12 minutes for him to head home Jota’s pinpoint cross.

Furuhashi should have had more as he had another goal ruled out for offside, saw a mishit shot loop off the crossbar and was denied by a stunning save from Ross Laidlaw after the goalkeeper had spilled Matt O’Riley’s inital effort.

The second-half was a tense affair as the visitors struggled to add to their advantage without ever conceding a clear chance to County to level.

And Celtic finally got the two-goal cushion they craved three minutes from time when Jota followed up to add the finishing touch after Georgios Giakoumakis hit the bar.

County are in a fight with Dundee United and Motherwell for two places in next season’s Europa Conference League qualifiers.

Fourth-placed United remain just a point ahead of Motherwell and County after a 3-2 home defeat to Hearts.

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