Aiden McGeady praises "level-headed" Postecoglou and Celtic for dealing with title pressure
Before a Glasgow Derby, everyone associated with Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic or Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Rangers gets their five minutes to assess the upcoming match; now it’s Aiden McGeady’s turn.
The ex-Celtic and Ireland winger has had a real late-career renaissance with Sunderland, but he still has time to give his take on all things Hoops.
And as his childhood club gear up for a potential title-decider, McGeady says he’s been impressed by how Ange and Celtic have taken the pressure in their stride.
Asked about how Celtic have coped with the mental toll of leading the Scottish Premiership, McGeady said [Sky Sports]: “They’ve dealt with it admirably.
“The title is in Celtic’s hands at the minute. If they carry on winning games – I know there’s six games left after this game on Sunday – if they carry on playing the way they are… I don’t think there’ll be any problem in winning league.
“The manager sets his team out, and he’s quite level-headed. I don’t think he lets anything get too on top of him, or get himself too drawn into the excitement after winning the game.
“Last season, I thought Rangers had the better squad. This season, I was slightly unsure, because the manager Postecoglou was relatively unknown out of the UK. Made a lot of signings, Japanese players came in, and a lot of people questioned, not knowing much about them.
“But the way they’ve integrated into the squad and the way [Postecoglou] wants the team to play, they’ve done it very, very quickly after a shaky start. So I’d probably be leaning towards Celtic. I like the way they play football, I like the manager’s integrity, his humility, I like his values and what he stands for.”
Ange Postecoglou and Celtic earn rave review from Aiden McGeady
There’ll be fans who still don’t like the way Aiden McGeady left Celtic, but he’s still very obviously a supporter.
He, too, knows all about these tense title races, and seismic derbies. The moments that define a league campaign, or where it can all go wrong.
So, it’s worth listening when he talks about title pressure. McGeady, very obviously, is impressed by Ange Postecoglou, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone associated with Celtic who isn’t.
That ties in to Sunday. The way Postecoglou has mentally and tactically prepared his Celtic team this season ought to give us confidence for Ibrox. Fine, we lost there early in the season, but week by week, Celtic have improved under the Greek-Aussie boss. That culminated in perhaps our best display of the season, when Rangers last faced us.
There are definitely clichés before a derby match. Keeping a cool head. Form goes out the window. All of that stuff. But in the case of Ange Postecoglou and Celtic, it absolutely applies. On both occasions, even the loss, Celtic have remained level-headed and played the game rather than the occasion (another derby cliché!).
That’ll be crucial again. So, McGeady’s respect for Ange Postecoglou’s level-headedness really does apply strongly to what’ll happen or not happen on Sunday when Celtic face Rangers.
Sensible words from the former Celtic winger, here.