ANGE Postecoglou tonight hailed his Celtic players’ fighting spirit following a last-gasp win over Ross County that kept them four points behind Rangers in the cinch Premiership table.

An Anthony Ralston goal in the sixth minute of injury-time in the Global Energy Stadium kept ensured the Parkhead club triumphed 2-1 and avoided a slip-up in the Scottish title race.

Postecoglou, who was missing several key players in Dingwall and was forced to field winger Liel Abada up front as a striker, was pleased that his charges kept battling to the death and picked up three points.   

He said: “It was an exciting finish. I was really pleased for the lads after putting in an enormous shift with 10 men at the end. We found a way to get a winner and I think just rewards for their efforts.

“I don’t think we were settling for anything. At the end we were trying to win the game which shows the spirit of the lads that with ten men they were not going to settle for one point. That’s not what we’re about, they wanted to win that game and they did it.”

Celtic’s fightback was hampered when centre half Carl Starfelt was sent off for a second bookable offence with 11 minutes remaining.

But Postecoglou was pleased that Callum McGregor and his team mates, who had taken the lead through Abada in the first-half only to concede a second-half Jack Baldwin goal, didn’t let the setback affect them.

“I think a few of the decisions went against us tonight, but I’m not going to complain about it,” he said. “We’re just trying to win games of football and that’s what I keep telling the lads.

“We just keep doing our thing and winning games of football and not worry about all these other things that potentially are trying to derail us."

He added: “Obviously we are missing quite a few players particularly in the front third so we needed to get creative tonight.

“I thought Liel did a great job for us leading the line and a young Moff (Owen Moffat) when he came on gave us a bit of energy which was pleasing.

“We just had to dig deep and I still thought our football was good and we got the rewards."

Asked if he was pleased to keep the pressure up on Rangers in the Premiership, Postecoglou said: “It’s just important to get three points, I’m not really worried about anyone else.”

Ralston’s goal sparked a mass pitch invasion by travelling supporters – but Postecoglou admitted he could understand their reaction.

“The fans have had a long drive up and it’s a long drive home,” he said.  “I hope they have calmed down and stay safe on the roads back.

"When you score a last second goal, not a last minute one, in front of them then you can imagine there’d be some overexuberance there! 

“It was great for them because they have had a long journey and there’s a real bond developing between the team and the fans. Nights like tonight help that as well.” 

The win means that Celtic will go into the Premier Sports Cup final against Hibernian at Hampden on Sunday on a high.

“Absolutely, it’s a big game for us and we want to make sure we perform at the best level we can so we’ll get down the road and recover and get ready for it,” said Postecoglou.

Asked if he would have any players back for the final, he said: “It’s hard to say who will be back. We left yesterday and I will see the boys we left back at Lennoxtown tomorrow. 

“I’m still hopeful one or two of them will be available for Sunday, but which ones I’m not sure yet. They are all pretty keen to be involved, but we will have to be smart in who we use.

“Liel was good through the middle, we knew we’d have to be creative and we scored a super goal. I was annoyed at half-time because I felt we were wasteful and could have had two or three. 

“Liel worked hard, we have been asking them to do other jobs and the fact they are doing that while still finding ways to win is important.”