Journalist Tony Haggerty has claimed that the man-management of Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou is behind Anthony Ralston’s recent good form.
During the current international break, the defender received his first-ever call-up into the Scotland squad. This great personal news came not long after he also signed a new contract which will see him remain with the Bhoys until the summer of 2025.
This is all quite a turnaround for a player who managed just one league appearance in the entirety of last season. Now, while speaking on a Celtic State of Mind podcast, Haggerty claimed that Postecoglou put an arm around the 22-year-old and showed him the ‘faith’ he needed to reach this unexpected level of quality.
Is Anthony Ralston Celtic's best fullback?
He explained his thoughts, saying of Ralston’s performances (11:25): “It’s down to the man management of Ange Postecoglou. Right, it really is. You know, this is a boy, Tony Ralston, who’s now been called up to the Scotland squad.
“It’s a boy that was heading out the Parkhead exit door, isn’t it? This is a boy who was told, ‘This one, that one, this one, that one’s coming in to take your jersey’. And then when we did sign a player in Juranovic, he was taking his jersey.
“I can only assume, I can’t comment whether it’s fact or not. But one man has shown faith in that guy. And it’s his the manager he has put an arm around him and clearly said, ‘Do you want your future to be here or somewhere else? Do it for yourself. Do it for your family.’
“Because Tony Ralston, when he signed a new contract, he said, ‘I do everything for my family’. So Ange has clearly sat him down and said, ‘Where do you want to be? Do you want to be here with me? Or do you want to be somewhere else, thinking I could have made it at Celtic?’
It’s man management.”
TIF thoughts on Anthony Ralston and Celtic…
During the summer, Celtic signed Croatian right-back Josip Juranovic from Legia Warsaw on a five-year deal. This £2.5m deal seemed to all but confirm Ralston would be seen as a bit-part player at best.
That transfer wasn’t completed until the latter stages of August, however. This gave the young fullback a chance to prove himself. Ralston did exactly that.
Indeed, he actually scored a goal in each of his first two Scottish Premier League appearances of the season, and then claimed an assist in the next match. Since then, he has played the full 90 minutes as a right-back in all but two of the Bhoy’s league matches.
Considering this form, it’s hard not to feel that Postecoglou has done a great job in getting the best out of Ralston when others may not have bothered.