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Ange closes in on defender deal

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Ange Postecoglou is confident that Tony Ralston will soon be signed up onto a new Celtic contract.

The defender has been reborn under the new Celtic boss after spending last season in football’s equivalent of Siberia.

Hatem Abd Elhamed and Jeremie Frimpong shared the right-back slot in the first half of last season with Kris Ajer as Plan C.

When Frimpong and Elhamed were sold in January Neil Lennon turned to Jonjoe Kenny who bombed spectacularly with Ralston restricted to one appearance while 14 players self-isolated following the Dubai debacle.

Despite all that trauma Celtic took up the 12 month option on Ralston’s contract with the 22-year-old forcing Josip Juranovic to switch to left-back to get into Postecoglou’s side.

Discussing Ralston’s situation, the Celtic boss told The Sun:

The club and Michael Nicholson are handling those areas. The important thing for Tony is to keep doing what he’s doing. I don’t think he’s thinking about contracts.

He’s thinking about taking the opportunity that’s been given to him this year. Every week he works hard and wants to improve. He’s having an impact in games.

Like all footballers, when they do those things, the rest of it takes care of itself, contract issues and all that kind of stuff. That happens pretty naturally when you are performing like Tony is. I’m sure he’ll get rewarded.

Other people might have a different opinion of him, but from the moment I walked in, all I’ve seen is a footballer who’s really eager to learn. He really wanted an opportunity and wanted to take it. As a manager, that’s what you are looking for.

You want guys who will give everything for that opportunity, who want to learn and be better and who demonstrate that every day in training, not just in games. Tony is definitely one of those guys.

Sometimes in a football career when there’s uncertainty, getting an opportunity or a second bite at it makes you even more determined to get it right. Tony has done everything right so far. I think there’s more to come.

Ralston has played in 19 matches this season which is more than his combined career prior to Postecoglou’s. Ralston was given his debut in May 2017 against St Johnstone by Brendan Rodgers with Mikey Johnston also making his debut in that match.

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