Postecoglou eyeing bigger picture

Getty Images

WATCH Rangers v Celtic tonight LIVE on beIN 2, 11.25pm AEDT | Foxtel, Kayo, Fetch & CONNECT

Speaking on the eve of the match, the Australian manager tried not to elevate its importance in the context of the wider season.

“I know people like to put massive consequences, but if we do win and go 12 points ahead, what does that mean?" Postecoglou said. "Does it mean we can just clock off for the rest of the year and not worry about the game after or the game after that? Will our supporters sit down and say, do you know what, maybe we can miss a few fixtures now because we’re 12 points ahead?

“I don’t think so. That’s not how it works so, for us, nothing changes.

"We’ve got to be at it on Monday the same way we have been for every game this year and we’ll continue to be at it after this game, irrespective of the outcome.”

This will be the second meeting of the season between the sides, Celtic having won 4-0 at home in September, while both teams go into the game having won all four of their fixtures since the resumption of the domestic season.

“You know going into it that it’s a massive fixture and you understand the significance behind every outcome,” Postecoglou said. “But ultimately we’ve played in all these fixtures with the same mindset – we’ve got to perform to our levels and play our football, try and dominate the game in the areas we want to dominate, and when we’ve done that we’ve been very effective, both at Celtic Park and at Ibrox last year in the second game.

“For the most part, traditionally, these games tend to be tight. We’ve had a couple that haven’t been in our favour, but you don’t go into these games thinking they’re going to be open affairs. It’s going to be tight. Both teams are going to be at it, and it’s exciting, and it’s one we’re looking forward to.

“We try and prepare our players for every possible outcome but sometimes during games things change or look different, depending on how the game’s going.

'For us, at the moment one of our strengths is the ability to adapt mid-game, whether that’s through the way we play or by making substitutions with players coming in who have different qualities, so it’s a bit of both.'

“But our preparations are always the same, irrespective of the opponent. It’s about what we think they’re likely to bring against us in the current circumstances.

Celtic’s last visit to Ibrox came in April when goals from Tom Rogic and Cameron Carter-Vickers gave the Hoops a 2-1 win.

“I take confidence from what we’re doing now,” Postecoglou said. “That’s what gives me confidence and belief – that whatever challenges we’ve had so far this year, apart from the St Mirren game, we’ve overcome domestically. Not just me, but I guess the players get their belief from.

“What happened last year is in our trophy cabinet and that’s it. It’s locked away and it’s not relevant now.

“I don’t use last year as a reference point for anything when we talk to the team this year.

“We talk about our growth this year, how we started the season and how we want to finish it, and that’s always going to be how we compare ourselves and how we’re going, and how we evaluate ourselves.

“We’re a different team to the first game of the season, let alone last year, so those kind of things are less important than what is happening right now.”