Ange Postecoglou on the Japan experience guarding him from Celtic cup complacency

By Euan Davidson

January 21, 2022

If you believe Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou isn’t taking the prospect of Alloa Athletic very seriously indeed, you don’t know Ange Postecoglou.

The Celtic boss already has one Scottish trophy to his name, after success over Hibernian in the Premier Sports Cup Final. That should’ve already displayed the gravitas he puts on cup competitions.

However, there’s one particular experience from his time with Yokohama F Marinos that clearly still rankles with him. In June, not long before leaving for Celtic, his Marinos side were dumped out of the cup by Honda FC. To explain the significance of this, it’s important to note that Honda FC play in the fourth tier of the Japanese league system.

Photo by Hiroki Watanabe/Getty Images

As the name suggests, Honda FC are owned by the eponymous car manufacturer. However, they don’t intend to be promoted higher up in the echelons of Japanese football. Either way, whether they could be a top team or not, it was a sore one for Ange Postecoglou’s former side.

Naturally, then, that experience was recalled today, with Celtic facing a League One opponent. In today’s press conference, ahead of tomorrow’s game against Alloa, Postecoglou said [Celtic FC]: “I’ve been involved in cup competitions in different countries, and I’ve had my troubles at different levels of football!

“The last Cup game I had in Japan, we got knocked out by a University team… well, not a University team, but a team outside the football league, on penalties.

“So I’m well aware of the potential pitfalls of not taking every game seriously.”

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Ange Postecoglou wants no repeat of Honda mis-steer as Celtic get ready for Alloa Athletic

Let’s not kid ourselves, this is a game we should 100% be winning. Alloa Athletic are 8th in League One.

However, the prospect of a giant-killing makes preparation for games that little bit different. It’s away, too, which means the international stars of Celtic will be at the 3,000 seater Indodrill tomorrow night. It shouldn’t be anything the players can’t handle. But it’ll certainly be a different kind of test.

For Ange Postecoglou, the incentive is obvious. Not only are his eyes fixed on multiple cup wins this season, but as he says, he knows what can happen.

Photo by Colin McPherson/Corbis via Getty Images

That’s perhaps why rotation is important here. It’s not to say there’s any complacency in our ranks, of course, but players with extra motivation to impress the manager could really do some damage tomorrow. The likes of Liam Scales, Giorgos Giakoumakis and James McCarthy, for example.

For fans, players and manager, it’ll be a real change of scenery. But the threat of a giant-killing looms large in Postecoglou’s thinking.

This’ll be one where Ange Postecoglou will want Celtic to show absolutely no mercy.

Read more: Ange Postecoglou delivers update on last 10 days of Celtic transfer window after O’Riley deal