"A lot more like us"; Postecoglou praises Celtic improvement after Everton shootout defeat

By Dave Flanigan

November 20, 2022

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has praised his side’s showing against Everton despite a second successive defeat at the Sydney Super Cup showpiece tournament in his homeland.

The Hoops boss was less than impressed by his side’s display in the 2-1 defeat to Sydney FC on Thursday, and felt that this morning’s 0-0 draw and eventual penalty shootout defeat was a far more accurate reflection of Celtic’s quality.

With some time off due for his squad, Postecoglou felt that the break has been earned, after a worthwhile trip down under.

Photo by DAVID GRAY/AFP via Getty Images

Speaking to Celtic TV, he said: “It was a lot more like us, I thought we played well, dominated the game. Obviously again lacked goals which is disappointing when you want to give some entertainment to the crowd but overall I was pretty happy with the way the boys went about things.”

“Much as I was disappointed with Thursday night, the boys have knuckled down since then, worked hard in training, better performance tonight, so it’s been useful. They’ll get a break now, which I think they need, and we’ll go again.

“The players are well aware why we’re giving them a break, it’s not because we want them to have a rest it’s just to have a mental and physical break from the schedule we’ve had but I know that in the back of their minds they’re just waiting to get back. In eight days time we’re back to go to Portugal and I’m sure they’ll come back ready to go.

Postecoglou also took the opportunity to mention the adulation his players have received from Celtic’s Australian contingent.

He said: “It’s brilliant to see, that’s been the highlight for us. It didn’t surprise me but for the lads and everyone associated with the club just to see how much passion our supporters have for our football club on this side of the world, like I said before, the distance doesn’t diminish the passion at all. It was great to see them all week, not just in the stadium but you walk around the town and there’s Celtic shirts everywhere so they’ve made their presence felt and it’s been brilliant.

“The personal stuff isn’t really what resonates with me, I realise that I’m part of a special football club and I knew what to expect, it was just great to share it with everyone and for everyone else to see what I already knew and it’s been a brilliant week for our club, we’re a massive football club and a global brand and the more we grow and give back in these regions, we’ll get it back in spade-loads.

“It’s good for the boys to get away whenever you can, spend more time with each other and just being in a different place, for a lot of the boys it was their first time in Australia and we’re in a great spot, they can wander round without too many people coming up to them, they can relax, so that’s been good.”

Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images

Despite the shootout defeat, Postecoglou is right to be pleased with how much his side tested Premier League opposition, taking Everton all the way to the very end in Sydney.

Though Frank Lampard’s side have had a torrid season, the gulf in resources allowed the former England star to field a side that completely dwarfed Celtic’s in terms of transfer fees expended, but this was not a gulf that showed on the pitch.

With some well-deserved time off for Celtic, Postecoglou can allow his squad to switch off and regroup during the World Cup before they return to competitive action in mid-December for a fixture-dense festive period.

In other news: Joe Hart on the unseen benefit of Celtic’s Australia trip