Ange Postecoglou shares what he told his players in the Celtic dressing room on Saturday

By Milo Clay

March 19, 2023

Ange Postecoglou has shared that he told his Celtic players that they ‘need to focus on the football’ after beating Hibernian yesterday. 

It was an action-packed game at Celtic Park on Saturday as the Bhoys eventually ran out 3-1 winners after mounting a second-half comeback. 

Hibs took the lead through Josh Campbell just five minutes before half-time, after they were reduced to 10 men earlier in the half. Elie Youan was dismissed just 24 minutes into the game, but Campbell made no mistake from the spot as he handed Hibs a surprise 1-0 lead. 

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

But Jota returned the favour from 12-yards out in the early stages of the second period, before late goals from Hyeongyu Oh and Sead Haksabanovic sealed yet another win for Posetcoglou’s side. 

It’s fair to say that Lee Johnson wasn’t best pleased with some of the decisions made throughout the game. The Hibs boss felt that both penalties were incorrectly rewarded, while he was furious about Youan’s dismissal in the first half. 

And due to the game being packed with drama and injuries as well as a fair amount of time-wasting from the opposition, Postecoglou feels that his players weren’t focused on the football during the first half, which was stop-start in nature.

Postecoglou says Celtic players needed to ‘focus on the football’ against Hibs 

Speaking to BBC Sportscene after yesterday’s win, Postecoglou shared what he told his Celtic players in order to overcome the issues.

“There was a fair bit going on the whole game and we couldn’t really get into any sort of rhythm or flow,” he said. “In the first half losing Reo [Hatate] as well was a further disruption and we couldn’t impose ourselves.

“After half-time the lads cleared their heads and understood what we needed to do, trying to make it about the football and do what we’ve been doing all season. They got their rewards

“There was a fair bit going on on and off the field. Even the bench space was fairly entertaining at times. I’ve said to the lads we need to focus on the football, the other stuff doesn’t do us any favours.” 

Postecoglou was right on the money with his post-match assessments. Celtic struggled to find any kind of rhythm during the opening period after 45 minutes of action in Glasgow. But they got back to their football, were energised by substitutions and showed their class in the second half to eventually break down a resilient Hibs side.

Ultimately in games like yesterday’s it’s about finding answers to unforeseen issues and conditions. Celtic will always have the ability to beat domestic teams, but what’s so impressive is that Postecoglou’s team have the mental fortitude to put it into action week after week regardless of difficult moments.