Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou sidesteps pre-Kilmarnock faux pas with clear message

By John McGinley

August 14, 2022

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou insists his team “have just got to deal with it” regarding today’s artificial pitch in Kilmarnock, refusing to offer up any pre-match excuses for the players.

The debate around artificial pitches in Scotland brings up a lot of anger in some quarters, so it’s not a surprise that it’s been a topic of conversation around the lunchtime kick-off today. In fact, it was Ange who initially broached the subject unprompted in his Celtic TV interview last Monday.

Still, the media traps were there for him in the build-up to this one when he was quizzed about Kilmarnock’s surface. But Postecoglou has dealt with it in a typically classy way, offering understanding for why they have it in place, while also setting expectations for his squad.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Speaking to The Glasgow Times, he said: “I’ve experienced them in the past, I’ve experienced them at international level when I was national team boss – we had to go to certain countries where that was all they had.

“You understand the reasoning behind it, but do I like them? No. I think they change the game. Do I think the top league should have them? Preferably not, but I understand why there are there and while they are there you have just got to deal with them.  

“As much the artificial pitches try to replicate what happens on a grass pitch, it’s a different game. That’s my preference, I don’t like them, I don’t think it’s as good a spectacle for the supporters, which is really the ultimate business we are in, but I can understand why clubs have them. There are financial considerations that thankfully our club doesn’t have to deal with. Others do, and that’s why they make those decisions.”

If things don’t pan out Celtic’s way today, the manager will not come out all guns blazing on factors like these. He always looks internally first before blaming stuff he can’t control. And he’s made that clear again.

It’s also fair of the Bhoys boss to present such a balanced take on the issue, with Killie likely to come under fire if today’s pitch is particularly slow and sticky.

The trip to Rugby Park is nothing to fear – Celtic are still red hot favourites to pick up all three points. The team can’t be distracted and must focus on their own game.

In other news, Change-up in Ange’s attack; Celtic Predicted XI vs Kilmarnock.