ANGE Postecoglou believes Celtic’s display in their hard-fought cinch Premiership win over Aberdeen at Parkhead yesterday has shown they have the strength in depth they need to negotiate their hectic festive schedule.

Postecoglou’s team recorded a 2-1 triumph over Stephen Glass’s side to move back to within four points of leaders Rangers, who had beaten Livingston away earlier, in the league table.

The match came just three days after they had played a physically and mentally demanding Europa League game against Bundesliga giants Bayer Leverkusen away in Germany and the Greek-Australian made two changes.

But the Celtic manager, whose side has nine matches in three competitions in December, was pleased with his charges’ energy levels as well as the quality of their play and is optimistic they can maintain their momentum in the coming weeks.  

“We need to embrace the schedule,” he said. “That’s the challenge for us. This one was particularly difficult. We played away in Europe and didn’t get back until the early hours of Friday. Yesterday’s training was virtually getting them out for a bit of a jog. 

“We knew Aberdeen would work hard. They are well organised defensively. We had to bring energy today. It’s easy for me to say it, but that was the challenge and the fact they did it was pleasing. 

“There is no way we are going to run through with 11 players. But, at the same time, there were only two changes today (James McCarthy took over from Nir Bitton in midfield and Liel Abada replaced James Forrest out wide) and nine of the lads had to back up.

“As I said, we looked at them at the end and they were still closing down and still pressing, still trying to get another goal. I just think those are good signs for us going forward.”

Postecoglou, who is hoping to have both Bitton and Tom Rogic available for the league game with Hearts at Parkhead on Thursday night, felt that his skipper McGregor, who set up Jota for the opener in the first-half and then netted the winner in the second, typified Celtic’s spirited display.

“Cal is massive,” he said. “I thought he really drove the lads, just with the energy. That’s what we spoke about before the game, that’s what I emphasised.

“It’s easy for me to say it, but somebody has to go out there and lead from the front. I don’t know where he gets it from, but he’s got bags of energy and when you see him running around you can’t help but be inspired.

“That means the rest of the guys will go out and do the same thing. He leads by example and he’s a man of action and words and I thought he was outstanding today.”

Postecoglou handed James McCarthy a start in the absence of Bitton, who had limped off injured against Leverkusen, and was pleased to see the Republic of Ireland internationalist play a full game for the first time since arriving in Glasgow in August.

“James did well,” he said. “It’s his first 90 minutes. He’s obviously had disrupted preparation. I’m really pleased he could get 90 minutes under his belt.  

“It gives us a little more depth in there. We’ve got a lot of games coming up and it’s good we are getting some depth in the midfield area in particular.  

“It’s a matter of games and opportunity and we’ve not had the opportunity to give James that game time. He will feel better after today.

“We are going to need him, we’re going to need all the lads because we’ve still got ten games to go between now and the break including a cup final. Every game is important. It’s not like you can just chop and change here and there so we are going to need everyone on board.”