Early in his tenure as Celtic manager the club released a video of Ange Postecoglou mic’d up at training as he conveyed his fundamental footballing principles to the squad.

The Australian stressed the importance of playing at speed on the ball, having lots of movement to enable the next pass, attacking the box efficiently from wide areas once in the final third and for the team to "never stop" until the end of games. 

Just over two months later it is clear that elements of Postecoglou’s playing philosophy have transferred successfully from the practice ground at Lennoxtown onto the competitive pitches at Celtic Park and beyond.

Here, we analyse three goals under Postecoglou that can be traced back to that initial mic’d up pre-season session. 

1. Anthony Ralston v Hearts

Celtic’s first league match of the season, away to Hearts, ended in defeat. As well as making some defensive errors and conceding from a set-piece, Postecoglou’s side were certainly not fully functioning yet in attack with centre forward Odsonne Edouard generating just two shots with an average xG per shot of just 0.06 during the 90 minutes. 

Celtic Way:

However, there were some early signs of a plan in possession coming together and this was best exemplified by Anthony Ralston’s equaliser 10 minutes into the second half. 

The Hoops manager’s urging of his players to pass with purpose was demonstrated as Ismaila Soro faked a sideways ball wide to right winger Liel Abada and, instead, played forwards and through the lines to find Ralston.

The oft-maligned, at least until his rejuvenation under Postecoglou, right-sided defender had moved infield as an inverted full-back and formed a box midfield with Soro, Edouard and David Turnbull, in order to aid ball progression through the centre and open up space on the flank for Abada against the isolated Hearts left-back.

Celtic Way:

Edouard is naturally gifted at finding space and his movement at this moment fit perfectly with Postecoglou’s principles: creating room for Ralston so that the full-back was available for a return pass. Being "super-sharp" in the final third, as the Aussie put it during his mic’d up coaching session, Edouard's pacey run drew the attention of the opposition central defenders away from the scorer. 

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2. Liel Abada v St Mirren

A few weeks later Celtic powered their way to a 6-0 victory over St Mirren in Postecoglou’s eighth competitive match as manager. The opening and final goals in this game were notable for having multiple elements of the manager's principles on show.

Celtic Way:

Abada’s strike after a quarter of an hour came from Celtic keeping lots of players high up the pitch to squeeze the space and pile relentless pressure on the Buddies.

The use of inverted full-backs and rotating midfielders to offer passing options as well as a plan to isolate defenders one-v-one against wide attackers in the final third.  

Celtic Way:

During his mic'd up training session, the manager stated: “Ball speed is very important for us, ball speed is number one. Even when we’re keeping possession I don’t want the ball to move slowly. Not too many touches on the ball.” This goal clearly demonstrated Celtic's priority of being quick in possession and it was on show throughout the build-up. 

READ MORE: Grading Ange Postecoglou’s first three months in charge of Celtic

The most effective moment was once again when two midfielders, a full-back and a forward - this time Callum McGregor, Ryan Christie, Greg Taylor and Kyogo Furuhashi - formed a box and exchanged quick passes, with very few touches each, to attract opponents and create space elsewhere. 

Celtic Way:

That space was, by design, for Abada. Although Postecoglou’s mic’d up instructions of “(be) super-efficient - it goes wide, early cross, attack the box and (we) score our goals" appear to have been slightly lost in translation at this point due to Abada cutting inside and lucking out a little as Jak Alnwick failed to deal with his 0.03 xG shot, overall this goal was an excellent demonstration of the new boss’s attacking tactics. 

3. David Turnbull v St Mirren

Eighty-four minutes into the same match, while facing 10 men and sitting 5-0 up after taking more than 30 shots, Celtic embodied another of Postecoglou’s central tenets as Albian Ajeti won the ball high up the park.

“Just get it into your heads: we never stop. We never stop. We’ll stop at the end of the game when we celebrate but during the game we don’t stop.”

Celtic Way:

Ajeti, in one of his few brief appearances so far this season, seemed keen to show he had indeed got that into his head and drove immediately at goal.

He wasn’t alone as four other Hoops players showed no intention of stopping and, as Turnbull scored his third and Celtic’s sixth, they passed with purpose, moved together as a team, didn’t take too many touches and were sharp and efficient in the final third. 

Celtic Way:

Celtic have had a mixed start to the season in terms of match results but there is no doubt that the manager’s clearly-communicated style is being implemented by his players when in possession.

With an average in the league so far of 24 shots per 90 minutes and an average xG per non-penalty shot of 0.13, Hoops fans should see many more goals this season built on Postecoglou’s mic’d up footballing principles.