Celtic overthrew Rangers at the Scottish Premiership summit after Reo Hatate inspired a resounding 3-0 victory in the Old Firm derby at Parkhead on Wednesday. 

Hatate continued his blistering start to life at Celtic with a first-half double that played a crucial role in securing a first league win against Rangers since September 2019. 

The Japanese midfielder set up Liel Abada with a tantalising cross two minutes after netting his second of the game, practically ending Giovanni van Bronckhorst's hopes of salvaging a result in his first Old Firm at the Rangers helm. 

Rangers' 21-game unbeaten run in the league consequently came to an ignominious end, with Ange Postecoglou's first win over Celtic's arch-rivals sending his team one point clear at the top. 

Celtic took a fifth-minute lead when Hatate's effort from the edge of the box deflected off Glen Kamara and found the bottom-right corner. 

Allan McGregor produced a brilliant double-save to keep Jota and Giorgos Giakoumakis at bay, but he was helpless when Hatate curled in a second in the 42nd minute. 

Hatate then turned provider before half-time, crossing for Abada to steer home after Rangers were caught napping by a quick throw-in. 

Rangers tightened up after the restart but found it difficult to create chances to test Joe Hart, although Ryan Jack rattled the crossbar with a 30-yard piledriver in the 79th minute.

Celtic were able to comfortably see out the victory, and the new league leaders are now unbeaten in 18 straight top-flight matches.

What does it mean? A shift in Rangers' outlook 

Rangers just could not keep track of Celtic's interchanging attack in a blistering first-half display, and it ultimately cost them their place at the top of the league. 

The defeat sees Rangers go from being on a 21-game undefeated streak to having won just one of their past four matches in the top flight. 

A Reo-lly good start 

Hatate was named man of the match on his debut against Hibernian last month and scored a screamer at Hearts the following week. The 24-year-old produced another stand-out display, with two goals and an assist making it a maiden Old Firm outing to remember. 

Barisic ball watches 

Had Rangers gone into half-time at 2-0 down, they may have had hope of mounting a second-half comeback. However, Borna Barisic was completely idle as Abada nipped in front of him to get Celtic's third before the break. He did not return for the second half.

What's next? 

Celtic head to Motherwell on Sunday, when Rangers face another difficult challenge at home to Hearts. 

Feyenoord great Wim Jansen has died at the age of 75.

The Eredivisie club, where he spent 15 years as a player before taking up a variety of off-field roles, confirmed he had passed away on Tuesday. He had been suffering from dementia.

"It is with great sadness that Feyenoord has learned of the death of club icon Wim Jansen," the club said.

"Wim Jansen is one of the greatest footballers ever to play for Feyenoord. He served the club as a youth player, youth coach, assistant and head coach, technical director and advisor and was part of the most successful Feyenoord team of all time."

Jansen won four league titles with Feyenoord from 1965 to 1974 and lifted the European Cup in 1970, when they won the final 2-1 against Celtic - a team he would later manage. He also captained the side to 1974 UEFA Cup glory before winning a further league title with Ajax in 1982.

He won 65 caps for the Netherlands in a 13-year international career, and was part of the sides that reached the 1974 and 1978 World Cup finals and finished third at the 1976 European Championship. Jansen was once described by the great Johan Cruyff as "one of only four men in the world it's worth listening to when they talk about football", according to NOS.

In a varied post-playing career, Jansen would win two KNVB Beker trophies as Feyenoord boss before becoming technical director for the 1993 league title win, helping to restore the club following financial problems.

He enjoyed perhaps his best moment as a coach with Celtic in 1997-98, when they won the double of league title and Scottish League Cup.

Stopping arch-rivals Rangers from winning a 10th successive title, Jansen also secured the signing of Henrik Larsson from Feyenoord, who became one of the club's greatest modern players.

Current Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou said: "He's a massive name in Dutch football, both as a player and a manager.

"I've often said that, for all of us, we get the privilege of coming through these clubs and our ultimate ambition is to leave some sort of mark or some sort of legacy and he did that in 12 months.

"The impact he had in just one year at this football club is fantastic."

Former Arsenal and Manchester United star Robin van Persie, who began his professional career at Feyenoord and had guidance from Jansen as a youngster, wrote on Twitter: "We spoke the same language, the language of football.

"Cruyff had his own language, Wim too. He wrote it down in notebooks, which Wim only shared with, in his eyes, real enthusiasts.

"Wim, I am grateful for our hours of conversations and the many wise lessons. Rest in peace."

Celtic's clash with Rangers on January 2 has been postponed by a month after Scottish Premiership clubs voted in favour of bringing forward the mid-season break.

Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Tuesday that all outdoor events in the country would be limited to 500 spectators for at least three weeks from December 26 amid a rise in coronavirus cases.

That would have meant the first Old Firm derby of 2022 practically being held behind closed doors, but there is hope that restrictions will be eased – or entirely lifted – by the time the Glasgow rivals meet in the rescheduled fixture on February 2.

Scottish Premierships teams will now start their three-week break after the Boxing Day round of fixtures, rather than on January 3, and the league will resume on January 17.

Games that were due to be played on December 29 and January 2-3, which also includes the Edinburgh and Dundee derbies, have been moved to January 17-18 and February 1-2 respectively.

Neil Doncaster, SPFL chief executive, said in a statement released on Wednesday: "We have had intense and positive discussions with all cinch SPFL clubs over the past 24 hours, since the announcement by the Scottish government of a three-week period of restrictions on fans attending matches. 

"We have advised our clubs that any postponements increase the risk of further disruption to an already highly congested fixture calendar.

"There are mixed views amongst cinch Premiership clubs about what to do for the best. However, a majority favour the postponement of fixtures to give a chance for games scheduled to be played over the festive period to be played in front of fans, once the three-week period of restrictions comes to an end. 

"The SPFL Board has agreed to postpone the 29 December and New Year Premiership fixture cards.

"Championship, League 1 and League 2 clubs voted to continue playing through the government restrictions and we look forward to their festive fixtures over the next fortnight.

"We would like to place on record our sincere thanks to Sky Sports and Police Scotland for their flexibility in accommodating these changes and to all cinch SPFL clubs for their clear, positive and constructive feedback as we work together to get through the challenges posed by COVID-19."

Celtic's clash with Rangers on January 2 will only be attended by 500 spectators after a change in coronavirus measures in Scotland.

With COVID-19 cases rising across the United Kingdom, Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the new restrictions on Tuesday.

The rules, which will be in place from Boxing Day, limit the amount of people allowed to attend public events.

Outdoor events have a capacity of 500, with each spectator having to have at least one metre of space between them.

The regulations will be in place for at least three weeks.

This effectively signals a return to behind-closed-doors games in Scotland, though the country's competitions do take a winter break after January 3.

Celtic host champions and Premiership leaders Rangers a week after the regulations come into effect, while Hearts and Hibernian face off in the Edinburgh derby a day later.

On Monday, Premier League clubs confirmed they would not postpone a round of fixtures set to be played on December 28, 29 and 30 in England.

If Kyogo Furuhashi is any indication, Celtic should be looking to Japan for more players, right?

Former Yokohama F.Marinos boss Ange Postecoglou used his J1 League insight to lure the previously unheralded Kyogo to Parkhead and what a signing it has proven to be – the Japan international has taken Glasgow by storm with 14 goals in all competitions.

Now, Celtic manager Postecoglou is reportedly preparing another raid on Japan's top flight, including his former club, to help bolster his title-chasing side in the January transfer window.

F.Marinos star and joint Golden Boot winner Daizen Maeda, Kawasaki Frontale utility Reo Hatate and Gamba Osaka's Yosuke Ideguchi are believed to be all closing in on moves to Celtic as the Bhoys' Japanese contingent grows.

With speculation mounting, Stats Perform looks at the numbers behind the trio, using Opta data.

 

Daizen Maeda, Yokohama F.Marinos

Postecoglou leaned on his experiences as a rival coach to prise Kyogo from Andres Iniesta's Vissel Kobe at the start of the season, but it is a completely different matter regarding Maeda, who was signed by the Australian coach, initially on loan in 2020.

Following a difficult loan spell in Portugal via Maritimo, Postecoglou turned to Maeda after leading F.Marinos to their drought-ending J1 League title the season prior. The 24-year-old has not looked back, taking his game to a new level with the runners-up in 2021.

The two-time Japan international shared the Golden Boot with Frontale talisman Leandro Damiao after the pair both scored 23 goals, while he was named in the league's Best XI.

With pace to burn and the ability to play on the flank or through the middle, Maeda fits Postecoglou's high-octane brand of football and pressing philosophy to a tee – he tallied the most sprints across the league (1,457), well ahead of Consadole Sapporo's Tsuyoshi Ogashiwa (869).

Maeda, who likes to cut inside from the left, also led J1 League in shots on target (51), shooting accuracy (63 per cent), big chance total (33), big chance scored (18), expected goals (21.3) and touches in the opposition box (190). He was second for total shots (92) and shot conversion rate (23.9).

 

"I never imagined I would end the season as top scorer in the league. I feel I have been able to prove I was a good signing here," Maeda, who could provide another dynamic to Celtic's attack having scored a joint-league-high six headed goals, said at the end of the season. "As always it was great to score, but I would have liked to have ended the season with a win.

"I've had a great season although I am disappointed we never managed to win the title, but on a personal level, I am very proud I was able to finish as top scorer. I always want more goals. You can never score enough.

"I believe this team can go on and have a great season next year too. Whatever happens, Marinos are a great club. I've never hidden my ambition to play in Europe. When I tried before in Portugal, Covid ruined it for me. This season has changed everything for me. Goals and a call-up for my country. For me, it's just the start."

 

Reo Hatate, Kawasaki Frontale

If Celtic want a man that can cover a number of positions, Hatate is their guy.

A defender, midfielder or forward, Hatate is coming off his second successive top-flight crown with the league's dominant force Frontale, who have won the title in four of the last five years.

Hatate has played a key role in helping maintain Frontale's dominance since making his debut in 2018.

The versatile 24-year-old – who has not played abroad, unlike Maeda or Ideguchi – is fresh off a stellar season that saw him named in J1 League's Best XI.

Like 2020, Hatate scored five goals in 30 appearances, while he supplied two assists in the league as he often played in the middle of the pitch, though he can also be deployed at left-back.

Comfortable on the ball and secure in possession, Hatate boasted a passing accuracy of 82.1 per cent in 2021. As for his creativity, he created 33 chances, highlighting his vision. He ranked in the top five for shots on target (third, 22), total shots (fourth, 59) and passes in opposition half (five, 1,297) among all defenders and midfielders.

Covering plenty of ground, Hatate also demonstrated his defensively capabilities throughout the campaign with 45 interceptions and 159 duels won, with a 53.4 success rate.

 

 

Yosuke Ideguchi, Gamba Osaka

Of the three players targeted by Celtic, the 25-year-old is somewhat the most surprising.

Labelled "wonderful" previously by former Manchester United playmaker Shinji Kagawa, Ideguchi endured a forgettable time in Europe – he joined then-Championship outfit Leeds United on a four-and-a-half-year contract in 2018 but never made an appearance for the club.

Ideguchi then bounced around on loan at Cultural Leonesa in Spain and Greuther Furth in Germany before returning to boyhood club Gamba Osaka, where he has excelled across two spells.

A player with a lot of potential upside, Ideguchi is more of a holding midfielder and is capable of finding the back of the net.

Ideguchi – part of the Gamba team that tasted domestic success via the J1 League (2014), Emperor's Cup (2014 and 2015), J.League Cup (2014) and Japanese Super Cup (2015) prior to his Leeds departure – is coming off a 29-game season, his most since the 2017 campaign.

While he did not score or register an assist, unlike the season prior when he scored four times and teed up three goals, Ideguchi's work rate and tenacity was invaluable for Gamba.

In 2021, the 15-time Japan international won 55.5 per cent of his tackles with 36 interceptions and 78 duels won. Since 2019, Ideguchi is a top-10 midfielder in tackles (fifth, 145), tackles won (fifth, 85) and interceptions (10th, 109).

 

Tottenham could face Rapid Vienna in the Europa Conference League knockout round play-off with the result of their postponed final group match with Rennes still to be decided.

Spurs' Group G finale, which was due to take place last Thursday, was postponed due to a coronavirus outbreak at the club.

They sit third in the group behind Dutch club Vitesse and it is UEFA's Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body that will decide which team progresses after the governing body ruled the match with Rennes would not be rescheduled after failing to find a pre-December 31 date that works for both sides.

Vitesse will progress to face the Austrian club if the game is ruled a Rennes win or a draw.

Meanwhile, Tottenham's Premier League rivals Leicester City, who crashed out of the Europa League, were pitted against Randers of Denmark.

Celtic suffered the same fate as the Foxes and the Glasgow giants will take on Bodo/Glimt for a place in the last 16.

They are not the only former European champions in the draw, with Ligue 1 side Marseille drawn against Qarabag and PSV set to face Maccabi Tel-Aviv.

The first legs will take place on February 17 and the return legs a week later.

Conference League knockout round play-off draw in full:

Marseille v Qarabag
PSV v Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Fenerbahce v Slavia Prague
Midtjylland v PAOK
Leicester City v Randers
Celtic v Bodo/Glimt
Sparta Prague v Partizan Belgrade
Rapid Vienna v Vitesse or Tottenham

Celtic ended their Europa League adventure by halting a dismal run against Spanish teams with a dramatic 3-2 win over Real Betis.

There was no Group G final-day reckoning, with places from top to bottom already decided with a game to spare, so Thursday's clash was all about playing for pride.

Betis are heading through to the knockout play-offs as runners-up, with Bayer Leverkusen having won the group, while third-placed Celtic have Europa Conference League knockout play-offs ahead of them.

Celtic had gone seven games without a win against Spanish opposition, but goals from Stephen Welsh, Ewan Henderson and David Turnbull, with a winner from the penalty spot in the 78th minute, saw off the LaLiga visitors to Parkhead.

The hosts made a fine start when Welsh deftly headed a left-wing corner from Liel Abada across goal and inside the right post.

Betis midfielder Paul Akouokou struck a sweet shot from outside the box against the angle of post and crossbar with almost the final kick of the first half, and Cristian Tello was denied early in the second half, while Celtic's Nir Bitton scuffed an effort following a corner when he should have done better.

It felt like an equaliser was coming as Joaquin, Diego Lainez and Tello rained more shots towards the Celtic goal. It came in the 69th minute when Joaquin cut in from the right wing, the 40-year-old showing a respectable turn of pace, and Scott Bain pushed a stinging shot from Borja Iglesias against his left-hand post, only for the ball to cruelly ping back into the net off the goalkeeper.

Henderson restored the hosts' lead three minutes later, touching in fellow substitute Michael Johnston's surface-skimming cross from the right, but the rush of goals continued as Iglesias got in behind the Hoops defence and slotted beyond Bain in the 74th minute.

Celtic had a penalty from their next attack, with Edgar Gonzalez tripping Abada, and Turnbull found the bottom-left corner. Ahead for the third time, this time Celtic locked up at the back, making sure of the win.

Moussa Diaby capped a dramatic late fightback by snatching a 3-2 victory to put Bayer Leverkusen in the last 16 of the Europa League and knock Celtic out.

Leverkusen knew they would be guaranteed to win Group G by securing all three points at the BayArena on Thursday and Robert Andrich's header gave them an early lead.

The Hoops fought back brilliantly, Josip Juranovic equalising with a cheeky first-half Panenka penalty and Jota sending the travelling fans into raptures when he put them in front after the break.

Celtic were unable to hold on, though, as Andrich levelled and Diaby won it with a fine late volley after 87 minutes to send the Bundesliga side through and consign the Hoops to the UEFA Conference League.

Ange Postecoglou is in the midst of the biggest job an Australian coach has held in men's club football.

Postecoglou changed the landscape of the game in Australia and left a legacy in Japan, where he conquered the J1 League with Yokohama F.Marinos before he was lured to Glasgow by a wounded Scottish powerhouse Celtic, dethroned by bitter rivals Rangers.

After some initial backlash, Postecoglou has Celtic fans dreaming of glory through an emphasis on a high-octane style of attacking football and unrelenting belief in his philosophy.

But to get a clear picture of Postecoglou – the most decorated coach in Australian football – and his journey to Parkhead, you have to go back to his days at boyhood club South Melbourne.

Most know about Postecoglou's love for South Melbourne, where his passion for the sport grew alongside his father after immigrating from Greece.

Postecoglou went from juniors to seniors, winning two titles as a player before delivering back-to-back NSL titles as a coach and an unprecedented spot alongside Manchester United at the 2000 Club World Cup in Brazil.

Michael Petersen saw the making of Postecoglou unfold before his eyes. The former South Melbourne and Australia midfielder had been involved with the Australian great since around the age of 10 – the pair initially clashing in a junior rivalry between South and Port Melbourne.

Petersen eventually joined Postecoglou at South Melbourne in the late 1980s.

"He was a natural leader," Petersen told Stats Perform. "In a lot of ways, probably needed to get up to speed personally, but it was an invisible leadership. But he was always serious about his football. He loved the club. So his loyalty was unquestioned."

A trail-blazing coach, Postecoglou's career in the dugout is well-documented but he was also successful on the pitch – the former defender is considered to be one of South Melbourne's greatest players, having won eight pieces of silverware, while earning four international caps for Australia.

However, Postecoglou's career was cut short due to a knee injury.

"He was underestimated [as a player] but obviously he got wiped out pretty young at 27," Petersen said. "I think you're just coming into your professional career [at that age]. At the time, South Melbourne had a lot of good players in all the lines so he probably went a little bit unnoticed but not in our changing room. He was very well respected. You obviously don't make someone captain if you're not first on the teamsheet, so he was always first picked on the teamsheet."

 

Postecoglou's success has been shaped by his father, Dimitris, and legendary Hungarian Ferenc Puskas.

The 56-year-old played under Puskas from 1989 to 1992, forming a close bond, before launching his own coaching career at South Melbourne.

Postecoglou was appointed in 1996 and former general manager Peter Filopoulos was instrumental in the ex-captain's rise from skipper to coach.

"Every time I spoke to Ange, I felt like I was educated about football. Because I was an administrator. I never played at the high level. I was a little bit more educated about South Melbourne's history and he was very proud of South Melbourne history, the club and he always had these really big aspirations for the club, but also big aspirations for football in Australia as he still does," Filopoulos said.

Postecoglou's transition from player to senior coach at South Melbourne almost did not happen following the sacking of former Socceroos boss Frank Arok.

After a 3-0 loss away to Marconi in March 1996, Arok was relieved of his duties and Postecoglou put in charge on an interim basis for the remaining three games of the season.

"I remember getting the long bus trip to the airport from Fairfield and Frank had slumped in his chair and was just sulking a little bit. The players started to misbehave and were bantering. It was as if they had won 3-0, not lost 3-0. I could see Ange to the right of me was just not amused at all right, I'm sitting at the front of the bus as the official. And it got to the stage that it was out of control on the bus," Filopoulos recalled. "He went up to the front of the bus and picked up the microphone. He said, 'You listen to me, you blokes'. It was silent and he said to them, 'I've played for this club from under eights, right through to every level of South Melbourne, I've worn this jersey for every team age group, to the seniors, I captained this club and won championships. If you want to muck around, no problem, we lost 3-0 but I just want to tell you my perspective, today was the worst performance I've seen of any, any South Melbourne team of any age group in my entire career. So if you guys are happy with yourselves, and you want muck around on the bus, why don't you just reflect on the disgraceful performance and how you disgraced the team jersey today and the club'.

"That was it. There was silence for the rest of the bus trip. And then we got to the airport. And there was all these shuffling of the boarding passes. No one wanted to sit next to Ange. Hindsight is a beautiful thing, right? But I remember thinking to myself back then this guy has something special."

However, Postecoglou – who was working in a bank at the time to supplement his salary of being an assistant coach – was not even in the equation to make the step up permanently after winning all three games as South Melbourne's hierarchy eyed bigger and more established names.

"I'd be in the board meetings as a general manager, and they'd be speaking about Zoran Matic and [former Australia coach] Raul Blanco, all those big names of the time. Ange came into the office and he wasn't really mentioned around the table. They all thought he'd automatically be an assistant," Filopoulos said.

"He goes to me what's going on with the coaching gig? And me naively, I said we had a meeting last night and we're talking about Matic and Blanco. And Ange goes, 'What about me big fella?' I said, 'Are you interested?' He said 'Yes I am, I am interested'. I said, 'Well Ange, if you're interested, you need to make it known'. I thought, I wonder what the young fellas thought. We had the younger committee members and older ones. I remember ringing up some committee members and I threw Ange's name in the mix and over a few conversations, you have to give him a chance to present.

"So what I did back then, we were a very close-knit social group, the younger guys and I set up a barbecue at my place. The coaching conversation came up. And everyone's talking about those big names again. And then Ange said, 'You know I'm interested right?' And someone said, 'What? Are you really interested?' Ange started talking about his philosophy and ideas. It went for like 30 minutes. It was like a full-on pitch without knowing it was a pitch. He finished and it was dead silence. The vice-president at the time said 'Ange you're our f****** coach mate'. That was it. We lobbied hard and got him through. It was tough to get it through. There were some really older guys who weren't convinced.

"Ange got the job. And a lot of people would say that was a foresight. I would say, sometimes it was instinctive that it was the right decision. He changed everything. So there's me as general manager, it was actually quite good, because there was all these expectations and all these different things he wanted in place, which meant I worked pretty hard for him to deliver it."

 

But it was not all smooth sailing after fighting tooth and nail to appoint Postecoglou – a run of just one win from seven games to open the 1996-97 season had some South Melbourne committee members calling for Ange's head.

Filopoulos said: "There were a few phone calls from committee members and I remember one guy, he said 'you need to get rid of him at midnight tonight so no one sees him leave the club because you've made a mistake, and because you orchestrated all of this, you can follow him behind'.

"It came down to the eighth game at Marconi for a coach's career, really, because the pressure was on. We won after a scrappy 87th-minute goal. Had we not won that game, it would have been a different future for Ange. The rest is history. After that, he improved our football club. He took it to another level. We became a true destination club."

"So a similar story to Celtic, it takes some time, right? Because he does, on my experience, he turned our program upside down. He has meticulous detail and thought process, even to the point of dressing room access," he added.

Petersen, who also served as Postecoglou's assistant during his tenure as head coach of the Young Socceroos, experienced the "seamless" transition from player to coach up close and personal.

"There's layers to having a good football IQ. There's layers to it," said Petersen, who was told his playing career was ending by Postecoglou. "Ange has always had it. No, not even an issue. Very, very astute. I can rubber stamp that from, from way, way back. And that's to a point is if you love something, you really go deep into it. He goes deep into, you know, picking a football team for any matchday is a bit of a puzzle. You've just got to put the whole thing together, you've got to get the right balance of energy, skill sets. Who's going to actually perform on the day for that given day?

"He doesn't get it wrong a lot. And I can say that, but I think his history shows it. He's managed to get it right on the big days. It's by design, it's not coincidence. He gets it right. You can read all the books in the world. And you either got that gift, or you don't have that gift."

"At the time [after coaching South Melbourne to NSL glory] I thought Ange was Australia’s modern-day version of Alex Ferguson," he continued. "To this day I haven't changed my mind as I have watched him evolve and succeed and continually challenge himself and the type of football his team produces. Ange wins and wins well with style and grace."

 

From South Melbourne to Australia and Japan, Postecoglou has won it all – a pair of National Soccer League championships, back-to-back A-League titles, a record 36-match unbeaten streak at Brisbane Roar, plus a ground-breaking 2015 Asian Cup triumph with the Socceroos and a J1 League crown with F.Marinos – while silencing his doubters.

Postecoglou, like Manchester City's Pep Guardiola and former Juventus and Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, pushes the boundaries. Firmly set in his belief of how football should be played, Postecoglou's approach never wavers and success follows in his pursuit of excellence.

That has always been the case for Postecoglou.

Recalling Postecoglou's first steps in senior coaching and his pitch-side antics, Petersen – who also worked alongside Ange at South Melbourne after retirement – said: "We almost had a rule, no one was allowed to talk on the bench. If you're gonna say something, it's gotta mean something, otherwise chitter chatter and joking around, none of that. So there's none of this micro-coaching, if you like. Ange was almost locked in tune with the game. He was actually very, very still, quiet and measured."

Postecoglou is known for not getting too close to his players and Petersen added: "I think that's a maturity beyond his years in a sense that he always, because he probably had to start coaching young and he kind of realised early that you do have to draw a line from mateship because players are insecure creatures, and they'll look for any way to get a way in and if you can be pals, you might jag a spot because he likes you.

"Ange never did that. He made decisions that were based on what was best for the club, not necessarily on the individual. Even as a captain, looking back, he was galvanising the hierarchy, the directors of the football club, everything was all about what was best for the football club. I think that's rare to see players who do that. And then already when they transition into assistant coach and then senior coach, you knew there was a line. And that was all right. I think, in the wash-up, once you know the rules of a gaffer, you love it, you go, 'Okay, well, I know where I stand, I've got to perform'. And it's not just performing in games, it's performing at training. We have to perform, every training session means something.

"We joke around in the changing rooms and then we had fun. We had ghetto blasters, telling jokes. I think the moment we hit the football pitch, for that block of time, for an hour and a half, it was business. There's no laughing, football is serious. Because you laugh and joke, you lose football games. So you train how you play. So the intensity should always be at training. I think Ange knew that already at a young age – perform at training, transition that into games, and then whatever happens after hours, yeah, let's have some fun as well."

Kyogo Furuhashi, Jota and Liel Abada were on target for Celtic as they beat Ferencvaros 3-2 in Hungary on Thursday to boost their hopes of making the Europa League knockout stages.

Furuhashi opened the scoring in an entertaining first half, finding the bottom-left corner inside the first three minutes, but a Josip Juranov own goal – deflected in from Oleksandr Zubkov's effort – saw Ferencvaros level the scores.

Jota lashed a terrific strike in off the post from long distance to restore the Bhoys' advantage later in the first half, and Abada added a third on the hour mark after some neat build-up play from the visitors before Myrto Uzuni pulled one back for Ferencvaros late on.

The result sees Ferencvaros eliminated from the group as their wait for a point goes on, while Celtic close the gap to second place to just one point.

Ange Postecoglou's men quickly went ahead, Furuhashi feinting on his right foot and slotting inside the near post with his left after Abada pounced on a loose ball high up the field.

The visitors' lead lasted just eight minutes as Ferencvaros equalised with the help of a wicked deflection off Juranovic that looped Zubkov's low shot over a stranded Joe Hart and in after Celtic gave the ball away cheaply.

Celtic reclaimed their advantage in the 23rd minute of an end-to-end first half as Jota finished off an incisive counter-attack with a superb strike, cutting in from the left to curl in off the near post from the edge of the box.

The crossbar was rattled at either end within five minutes of the restart as Tokmac Nguen struck a ferocious effort from the edge of the box that cannoned off the woodwork before Anthony Ralston headed against the frame of the goal from David Turnbull's cross.

In the 59th minute, Furuhashi thought he had made it 3-1 but saw the ball hacked off the line after he had dinked over Adam Bogdan.

Celtic did grab a third goal just a minute later, though, with Abada rifling into the bottom-left corner from a tight angle to finish off a slick move.

Uzuni curled a lovely strike from long range into the bottom-right corner in the 86th minute to set up a nervy finish, but the hosts were unable to complete the comeback and earn a draw.

What does it mean? Celtic close the gap

Having started the evening four points behind both Bayer Leverkusen and Real Betis, Celtic are now just one point off the latter after Betis' 4-0 defeat in Germany.

The result means that Celtic are guaranteed more European football, whether that be in the Europa League or the Europa Conference League, with Ferencvaros eliminated from contention with no points after four games.

Bhoys end Europa League away losing run

Before this outing, Celtic had lost each of their last three away games in the Europa League, conceding exactly four goals in each match.

Postecoglou's charges put in a strong showing on the road on this occasion, however, making sure they avoided an unwanted record of four straight away defeats in the competition.

Ferencvaros' wait for a European win goes on

Ferencvaros have now lost each of their last seven matches in European competition. This is their longest ever sequence of defeats in their history in Europe.

Additionally, the Hungarian champions have played five home matches in the Europa League to date and are still waiting for their first such victory (D2 L3).

What's next?

Ferencvaros travel to Spain to face Real Betis in their next Europa League game on November 25, while Celtic are in Germany to play Bayer Leverkusen on the same day.

Celtic finally got some points on the board in the Europa League as Kyogo Furuhashi's sublime second-half goal sent them on their way to a 2-0 win over Ferencvaros.

Ange Postecoglou's men lost their first two matches to Real Betis and Bayer Leverkusen, conceding four in each, but their slim qualification hopes at least received a boost with Tuesday's victory.

Celtic were the dominant force for much of the game, though Ferencvaros certainly had their fair share of chances, with the hosts let off the hook more than once.

Stunning play from Jota and excellent work by Kyogo brough the breakthrough just before the hour, and although Callum McGregor failed to put the game beyond Ferencvaros from the spot, David Turnbull wrapped it up late on with a scrappy effort.

Ferencvaros inexplicably failed to take an early lead when Ryan Mmaee latched on to a right-wing cross but somehow put his effort over from a few yards out.

Soon after, Jota forced two necessary saves from Denes Dibusz.

The first struck the goalkeeper's leg after Jota was fed into the left side of the box, before Dibusz theatrically tipped the Portuguese midfielder's curling effort over.

Celtic were well worth the lead when they eventually broke the deadlock, Jota unsurprisingly key.

The on-loan Benfica talent carried the ball out from the left-back area and played a gorgeous lofted throughball into the path of Kyogo, whose sumptuous first touch set up a composed finish from the edge of the box.

McGregor should have made it 2-0 five minutes later, with Dibusz palming away his spot-kick after Henry Wingo fouled Adam Montgomery.

But Celtic did get another goal nine minutes from time, Turnbull finishing from close range at the second time of asking after fluffing his first shot.

Celtic suffered their second successive Europa League defeat this season as they were comprehensively beaten 4-0 by Bayer Leverkusen.

First-half goals from Piero Hincapie and Florian Wirtz put the Bundesliga side in complete control against Ange Postecoglou's side in the Group G clash at Celtic Park.

Lucas Alario added a third from the penalty spot after the break as Gerardo Seoane's side followed up their opening victory over Ferencvaros, while substitute Amine Adli completed the rout with a thumping strike deep into stoppage time.

The result means Celtic were handed an 11th reverse in their last 18 home European matches, while this was the 16th time in 25 outings they have lost to German opposition.

Both sides had chances to break the deadlock during a blistering start to the contest.

Alario was denied by the offside flag inside the opening minute, then moments later a magnificent last-ditch intervention from Jonathan Tah prevented Kyogo Furuhashi from sliding into an empty net at the other end.

Leverkusen had Lukas Hradecky to thank for a couple of important touches in quick succession, the goalkeeper denying Furuhashi and Carl Starfelt.

However, the visitors broke the deadlock in the 25th minute. An untimely slip from David Turnbull allowed Mitchel Bakker to get into the penalty area, where he cut the ball back for Hincapie to turn home.

The lead was doubled following a quick-fire counter 10 minutes later, with Paulinho picking out an unmarked Wirtz to score his sixth goal in as many games for his club.

Hradecky came to Leverkusen's rescue again with saves to thwart Furuhashi and Jota at the start of the second half, but the visitors put the game to bed in the 58th minute.

Alario calmly sent Joe Hart the wrong way from the spot after Cameron Carter-Vickers was deemed to have blocked Paulinho's shot with his arm.

Adli rounded out the scoring in the fourth minute of stoppage time, rifling into the roof of the net after being set up fellow replacement Nadiem Amiri, capping a rapid counter.

Celtic suffered a 4-3 Europa League defeat at Real Betis after an impressive opening half an hour had Ange Postecoglu's men two up in Seville.

A tricky first Group G fixture for the Bhoys initially went entirely to plan as Albian Ajeti broke the deadlock and Josip Juranovic's penalty doubled their lead.

But Betis' class told as Juan Miranda and Juanmi netted in quick succession before half-time, a feat the hosts repeated after the break.

Borja Iglesias and a second for Juanmi did the damage for Betis, with Anthony Ralston's late header not enough to ignite an unlikely Celtic fightback as a trip that promised so much ended in disappointment, although their sublime start suggested they could yet have a major part to play in a tough group.

Ajeti, signed by Manuel Pellegrini at West Ham, was influential against his former coach, turning in Jota's cross – the goal awarded after a lengthy VAR review, having initially been ruled out for handball – and then winning a penalty from Claudio Bravo, which Juranovic dispatched.

Joe Hart, who also played for Pellegrini and was replaced by Bravo at Manchester City, made two strong stops between those goals, but he was eventually beaten after 32 minutes.

Moments after a deflected drive struck the post, Miranda burst into the Celtic box to stab past Hart, and the visitors' lead was wiped out completely just 156 seconds later when Joaquin's delicate pass set Iglesias clear to square for Juanmi in front of an open goal.

Betis needed only five minutes of the second half to complete the turnaround, Iglesias meeting Sergio Canales' low left-wing cross with a smart flick.

Again, one goal followed another, with Juanmi controlling on his chest in the area following a corner and firing beyond the rooted Hart.

Tomas Rogic thundered against the foot of the post before Ralston nodded in David Turnbull's free-kick to set up a grandstand finish, but Betis held on.

Antoine Griezmann and Saul Niguez were the big names to move late on deadline day, with Atletico Madrid having a busy night.

Griezmann's move to his former club completed a day of outgoings for Barcelona, who sold Emerson Royal and Ilaix Moriba, as well as loaning out Ray Minaj.

Ronald Koeman's Barca did get one player in, however, who will seemingly replace Griezmann in attack.

Barca's LaLiga rivals Real Madrid did not manage to get a mega deal for Kylian Mbappe over the line, despite a reported bid of €200m having been lodged on Tuesday, though Los Blancos did sign Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga.

Cristiano Ronaldo's move back to Manchester United was confirmed early on, but there was plenty of late action in England, too.

 

Another returning king as Chelsea call on Saul

Romelu Lukaku back to Chelsea. Ronaldo back to United. Now, Griezmann has made a return to one of his former clubs, with the 30-year-old re-joining LaLiga champions Atleti on a season-long loan.

There is an option to make the deal permanent for €40million – just the €80million less than Barca paid for the France forward in 2019.

Replacing Griezmann at Barca is Luuk de Jong, with Koeman turning to his compatriot from Sevilla. Messi to De Jong... not quite the end to the window Barca fans would have had in mind.

Saul, meanwhile, is leaving LaLiga. He has joined Chelsea on a loan deal from Atleti, with an option to buy for a reported £30m.

 

No Madrid move for Mbappe... yet

A third Madrid bid for Mbappe was reportedly lodged, and ignored, on Tuesday, as Florentino Perez's obsessive hunt of the Paris Saint-Germain star proved fruitless.

However, Mbappe is out of contract next year, so he may well be a Galactico soon enough.

One player who will be playing in the famous all-white strip this season is teenage midfielder Camavinga, who has joined from Rennes.

As well as keeping Mbappe, PSG added to their squad, completing a stellar transfer window by signing Sporting CP left-back Nuno Mendes to fill what has proved a problem position. Pablo Sarabia went the other way.

In Italy, Milan marked a quiet end to the window overall by confirming the signings of Yacine Adli and Messias Junior.

Inter already had their business done, while Juventus confirmed Moise Kean's return on Tuesday morning. The Bianconeri also signed Mohamed Ihattaren, who was then loaned to Sampdoria.

Ronaldo headlines Premier League moves

The early confirmation of Ronaldo's move back to United being complete was the biggest story of the day in England's top flight. It also paved the way for the Red Devils to sell Daniel James, who moved to Leeds United.

Arsenal blocked Everton's attempts to sign Ainsley Maitland-Niles, though Hector Bellerin did leave the Gunners to head to Real Betis on loan. Mikel Arteta's Gunners completed their record-breaking transfer window (in terms of overall spend) with the acquisition of Japan defender Takehiro Tomiyasu from Bologna. Earlier in the day, Arsenal loaned out Reiss Nelson and Alex Runarsson.

Their north London rivals Tottenham completed the signing of Emerson from Barca, with Serge Aurier's time at Spurs subsequently being brought to an end by the mutual termination of his contract.

Everton's hunt for a right-back was to no avail. The Toffees did bring in Salomon Rondon on a free transfer, handing the forward a two-year deal with an option for a third. James Rodriguez was involved in a mooted part-exchange deal with Porto for Luis Diaz, but the Colombian star is staying put.

Manchester City rounded off their dealings by sending out seven players on loan. Among them was Patrick Roberts, who was one of three players to join Ligue 1 club Troyes.

Wolves were unable to complete deals for Kieffer Moore or Boubacar Kamara. A late offer from Spurs for Adama Traore was reportedly rejected.

Czech Republic midfielder Alex Kral joined West Ham on loan from Spartak Moscow. He was the Hammers' second signing of the day, with Croatia playmaker Nikola Vlasic having arrived early on.

There were two outgoings at Celtic. Scotland international Ryan Christie signed for Bournemouth, while Crystal Palace bought striker Odsonne Edouard for a reported £15m. The Hoops replaced him with Greece forward Giorgos Giakoumakis.

Crystal Palace have completed the signing of Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard on a four-year deal.

Edouard joins for a reported £15million and becomes the Eagles' seventh arrival of this transfer window under Patrick Vieira.

The 23-year-old scored 86 goals in 179 appearances during his four-year stint at Celtic. His last game for the Scottish giants was Sunday's Old Firm derby, in which he missed a golden chance in a 1-0 defeat to rivals Rangers.

A former France youth international, he won three Scottish Premiership titles with the Hoops, as well as two Scottish Cups and two Scottish League Cups.

"I'm very happy to be here today," he told Palace's official club website.

"I can't [wait] to start to train with the team and to play for this club. 

"Scoring goals in the Premier League may be the biggest challenge in my career. 

"But I'm confident in myself and my team-mates to be successful."

Edouard arrives with Palace 14th in the Premier League having collected two points from their opening three games.

He could make his debut when the Eagles welcome to Tottenham to Selhurst Park on September 11.

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