Postecoglou hails Israeli Abada as Celtic go nine clear

Ange Postecoglou has hailed the contribution of man-of-the-match Liel Abada in Celtic's 5-1 win at St Mirren which has restored their nine-point lead in the Scottish Premiership.

Mark O'Hara converted an early penalty for the hosts in Sunday's match after VAR ruled Greg Taylor had handled, but St Mirren had Charles Dunne sent off for pulling back Kyogo Furuhashi when he was in on goal.

Jota levelled for Celtic and Alistair Johnston forced the ball in off O'Hara for their second, with strikes from Abada and Matt O'Riley and a penalty from Oh Hyeon-Gyu completing the rout.

With a vastly superior goal difference to nearest challengers Rangers, Celtic effectively need eight more wins from their remaining 11 to retain their title.

Postecoglou singled out Abada for praise after the Israeli made a major impact, coming off the bench at halftime.

Abada replaced Daizen Maeda with Celtic trailing, and soon had a hand in Jota's equaliser.

The Israel international has started 16 of Celtic's 39 games this season but the only one he did not feature in was a Champions League tie against RB Leipzig which coincided with Jewish holy day Yom Kippur.

The 21-year-old has now delivered 12 goals and seven assists and Celtic manager Postecoglou stressed his importance whether he starts or not.

"He was really good," Postecoglou said. "It's important - and it's a weekly thing - that the guys who come on make an impact.

"The fact they're not starting doesn't affect their mindset. I just thought the way the game was going it was a good game for him to come on into. I knew he would get a bit of space out wide to run at them.

"He's a handful when he does that and he's always a goal threat. It doesn't matter what opposition he is up against."