Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou gives curt response to underdog tag in BBC interview pre-Alkmaar

By Euan Davidson

August 18, 2021

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou has reacted with typical candour to the “underdog” tag being applied to the Bhoys before meeting AZ Alkmaar.

The Greek-Aussie, in typically blunt form, responded to a question from the BBC. In fairness to the broadcaster, AZ Alkmaar represent some strong opposition for Celtic.

Many would be forgiven for wondering if the Dutch side were favourites for the tie. Unless you said that to Postecoglou. With a strong line-up, including the returning Liel Abada, the Celtic manager seemed genuinely confused by any suggestions that his side carried any sort of “underdog” status.

Postecoglou said [BBC Sportsound, 19.29]:

“Yeah well, if you say so! I mean, I… I haven’t heard that, and I certainly don’t see it that way. I’d hate to think we’re underdogs in any game, I don’t want us to be underdogs! I want us to be a team people fear.

“So, if [underdog is] how they see us at the moment, I guess that’s the label others are putting on us.

“The evidence shows what we’ve been doing. We’ve got to continue in that vein. If we keep playing our football and scoring goals, we’ll let others decide how they want to label us.”

Ange Postecoglou will back his Celtic team against anyone, including AZ Alkmaar

Now, in the cold light of text, those comments might read like an angry riposte. That wasn’t the case. He sounded both bemused and amused by the suggestion Celtic weren’t favourites tonight.

He was justified. In the first half, Celtic were dominant. AZ scared on a couple of moments, but it was the Bhoys who took the lead through Kyogo Furuhashi on the 12th minute.

Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images

The movement from Celtic was utterly terrifying in its pace, with Kyogo’s runs again causing problems for an opposition defence. James Forrest and Tom Rogic also had opportunities, but AZ had chances, too.

Joe Hart was forced into a save on 23 minutes by Zakaria Aboukhlal, who had another opportunity moments later. The Moroccan’s shot, however, swiped at fresh air.

Underdogs? Not after that half.

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