ANGE Postecoglou has stressed to his Celtic players the importance of retaining their mental toughness in the wake of their gutsy Premier Sports Cup final triumph over Hibernian.

Postecoglou was impressed with how his understrength side fought back to triumph and lift the first trophy of the season after falling behind in the second-half at Hampden on Sunday afternoon.

The Greek-Australian coach is hoping to welcome back injured players in the coming days and strengthen his squad with more new signings during the January transfer window. 

He believes it will be easier for him to cope with the sort of hectic fixture list that Celtic are currently negotiating and rest members of his first team when he increases his options.

However, he has told his charges, who can move back to within four points of Premiership leaders Rangers if they beat St Mirren in Paisley tomorrow evening, they must keep adopting exactly the same approach.

“We can’t wait to get our players back and hopefully some reinforcements in January and then we can certainly build from here,” he said.

“But the important thing, don’t forget, is that the resilience we’ve shown is something we’ve got to keep.

“It doesn’t mean it gets any easier when these guys get back. The challenges will still be there, it’ll just be different.

“But it’s a credit to the character of the people we’ve got representing this football club at the moment that they have embraced that challenge.

“I guess that’s what you try to instil in the players, to say that whatever obstacles we have ahead of us and whatever challenges - even the extreme ones we’ve had so far and they have been extreme - we haven’t made excuses. 

“We’ve been missing some significant talent in one part of the field. Josip Juranovic played three positions on Sunday. To do all that in the run we’ve been on has just been incredible.”

Postecoglou, who was a surprise choice to replace Neil Lennon at Parkhead back in June, was delighted to lift his first trophy as Celtic manager on Sunday.

The former Australia and Yokohama F Marinos coach stated that having his credentials questioned when he was appointed hadn’t deterred him and revealed he was always determined to land silverware.

“I think that will probably be with me until I decide to retire,” he said. “People have always sort of gone ‘yeah, but has he done it here’ or ‘has he done it in this circumstance’.

“Everywhere I’ve been I’ve had success. I think that’s a driver in me. Maybe I create that scenario a little bit too just to try to keep myself motivated. Not to prove people wrong, but to prove me right more than anything else.”