ANGE Postecoglou tonight paid a glowing tribute to Celtic centre half Cameron Carter-Vickers for playing through the pain barrier in the Parkhead club’s Scottish Cup semi-final win over Rangers.

Carter-Vickers was named Man of the Match following a 1-0 victory that takes the Viaplay Cup winners and cinch Premiership champions elect to within 90 minutes of a world record eighth domestic treble.

Postecoglou, whose team triumphed thanks to a Jota goal just before half-time, revealed it will be the last game the defender, who is now set to undergo surgery on a long-standing knee problem, plays this season.

And the Greek-Australian singled out his £6m summer signing for special praise as he looked ahead to the final against second tier Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Saturday, June 3.

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“He hasn't put a foot wrong since we signed him,” he said. “He has been outstanding. Him and Carl (Starfelt) as a partnership are outstanding. They really work hard together and Cameron again keeps growing as a player and a leader within the group.

“That is his last game for us today. He will get his injury looked at now and that will be him until the end of the season. I pushed for him to have it done earlier, but he wanted to play today.

“It's hard, but I'm scared of him so I just let him do what he wants. He was keen on playing today and he put in a performance that befits his standing at put football club and it's a credit to him.”

Celtic right back Alastair Johnston hobbled off injured in the second-half of the last four triumph following a collision with his Rangers counterpart Borna Barisic and left Hampden with his foot in a moon boot.

Postecoglou is unsure what the extent of the injury is at this stage, but he was encouraged when he saw the Canadian internationalist, who was replaced by Anthony Ralston, joining in with the post-match celebrations.

“It’s a sore one, obviously,” he said. “He wouldn’t have come off unless it was a significant one, but we’ll wait and see. He was throwing his crutches around at the end of the game, so we’ll see what he’s like tomorrow.”

Postecoglou conceded that Celtic had needed to defend well to extend their unbeaten run against their city rivals to five matches – but he denied they had been “lucky” to win the semi-final.  

He was pleased that his charges remained switched on, kept playing and opened the scoring after a Nico Raskin foul on Matt O’Riley just outside the Rangers penalty area.

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“I’m really proud of the group,” he said. “We had to earn it today, as you should in a semi final. We knew what was at stake. It was Rangers’ last opportunity to gain some success this season. So we knew what was going to happen.

“It was going to require all facets to our game. I thought we played our football when we needed, we defended really strongly when we needed to and it was all underpinned by an unbelievable work ethic, which this group of players has. They found a way to overcome the challenge again, so credit to them.

“I get the narrative that we’ll be lucky again, but that’s alright. We had chances as well. We just keep winning games of football and I thought we defended really well. There were a lot of balls coming in the box and I thought our two centre halves were outstanding.

“The work rate of our front players too. Daizen Maeda was incredible, particularly in the first half. You have to earn these things and I was really pleased that this team showed it can be resilient as well as play the football that we know we can.”

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Asked about the Jota goal, Postecoglou said: “It’s what we do. It shouldn’t surprise anyone. You can talk about mistakes, but we instigate mistakes because the boys are relentless in their pressure. They never switch off and then we have the quality to capitalise.

“We’re alert when we need to be and when the ball comes across, our winger is where he should be. That’s not by accident. We’ve been doing those things consistently and again it’s credit to the group that they maintain their discipline even in a game like today where the emotions are running high. It’s very easy to get sucked into the atmosphere, but we stayed clear headed.”