Soccer

Ange Postecoglou: Celtic have to be at their ‘absolute best’ against Inverness

Ange Postecoglou is wary of Caley Thistle (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Ange Postecoglou is wary of Caley Thistle (Andrew Milligan/PA) Ange Postecoglou is wary of Caley Thistle (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has stressed they have to be at their “absolute best” against Inverness in Saturday’s Scottish Cup final after hearing about the history between the clubs in the competition.

Caley Thistle have knocked Celtic out of the Scottish Cup three times in seven meetings this century and the Hoops needed to come from behind in two of their triumphs.

Inverness beat Celtic 3-1 at Parkhead as a First Division club in the first encounter between the teams in February 2000 in a result that cost John Barnes his job as manager.

They also beat Martin O’Neill’s side in 2003 four days after the Hoops had won at Anfield on their way to the UEFA Cup final.

Ronny Deila also fell foul of Caley Thistle in the 2015 semi-finals in a result that cost Celtic the chance of a treble.

When told some people were predicting a walkover when the Scottish champions face a side who finished fifth in the cinch Championship, Postecoglou told Celtic TV: “The people at this club don’t tell me about that, they tell me about the past results against them, which makes you realise that if you are not on it on the day you can be beaten and there’s consequences to that.

“I can assure you that no-one in the building here is going into it with anything other than the approach that we have to be at our absolute best on the day.”

Caley Thistle have only played once since their semi-final win over Falkirk, losing to Ayr on May 5 in a late defeat which cost them a place in the Premiership play-offs.

“It’s a bit of a weird one for them, they won’t have had a game for close to a month by the time the cup final comes around,” Postecoglou said. “I’m sure they have been working away and had bounce games when they can.

“It’s a different opponent for us but, irrespective, it’s a cup final. Who the opponent is becomes secondary to the fact that you know you need to perform on the day and if you do there is a massive reward at the end of it.”