Ange Postecoglou delivers 'more to come' vow for improving Celtic summer additions

By Lewis Laird

October 19, 2022

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou has praised Hoops duo Sead Haksabanovic and Alexandro Bernabei following their first league start at Parkhead.

Both players arrived at Celtic in the summer transfer window, and supporters were excited to see what the duo could offer to the squad.

However, Haksabanovic and Bernabei have had to bide their time for an opportunity after the Bhoys’ strong start to the season on the domestic front.

Photo by Ulrik Pedersen/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Earlier this month, the duo made their Scottish Premiership bow, contributing to the Hoops’ late win over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

And their performance in that game earned them a chance to make their first Scottish Premiership start at Celtic Park against Hibernian the following weekend.

As the Bhoys ran out 6-1 winners, both players made another big contribution to the Celtic frontline, setting up the opening two goals of the game.

After their big arrivals in the summer, many supporters might have expected the two players to slot right into Postecoglou’s starting line-up.

However, the Celtic boss has recently opened up on his new advantage this season, which has allowed him time to settle Haksabanovic and Bernabei into life at Celtic, and we are now seeing the benefits of that following the emphatic win over Hibs.

Speaking about Haksabanovic, he said [Glasgow Evening Times]: “Sead is doing well. We have had the luxury of being able to ease him in, as opposed to last year when we had to throw guys in.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

“He is building his fitness up and getting an understanding of our game, but he’s a good footballer. We are really happy to have him here, and we are excited to see what he can bring.

“Sead is still only 23, so from our perspective, we were happy to get him. The best is yet to come from him – absolutely. That was one of the attractions for us when he signed him.

“We saw a player who had a great deal of experience, but in terms of his age profile and where is at in his career, there is still plenty more in him.

“We knew he could fit into the way we play, and the added bonus with Sead is that he can play two or three positions. We felt we needed a player like that, and we are pleased with his progress, but we also know there is more to come.”

On Bernabei, he also said: “I am pleased for Alexandro. Again, he is one we are really excited about. I think because of what happened last year, people probably expected us to throw new signings in straight off the plane again. But this season, that was never the plan.

“I wanted to make sure we bedded them in properly, particularly Alexandro. He is 21, it’s his first time out of Argentina, and I didn’t want to throw him in and overwhelm him immediately. We see a really bright future for him, and we wanted to integrate him slowly.

“Alexandro has been really good in training, he wants to learn, and he has a real appetite for improvement.

“We have been able to be measured, but there was never any doubt in my mind that he could make an impact – and you will see that from now on. We have also had the luxury of not needing to throw him in, as Greg Taylor has had an outstanding season.

“We have been able to ease Alexandro in gradually. I wanted to give him time because it is a big change for him, even with the language. It’s better now, but that would be a challenge for any young player coming over.

“If you throw him into a competitive environment, it can be a sink or swim scenario. They may thrive immediately, but I didn’t see the need to do that. I felt it was better to get him in gradually, and you can see him getting better in training all the time.”

Ange continued: “We have worked closely with him, and he’s taking it all on board. We see how good Alexandro has been in training, and we are probably the least surprised by how he played against Hibs.

“But he’s only a young guy, and there is more to come.”

Photo by PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images

Celtic squad reaping the rewards of allowing Ange Postecoglou’s summer additions to settle into life at Parkhead.

As mentioned, although it might have been a slightly slower start to the season for both men, in terms of their starting appearances, we are now beginning to reap the rewards of allowing them to settle in at Parkhead.

On Saturday, both players looked up to speed and are now clearly comfortable in Ange Postecoglou’s free-flowing but tough system.

There were even early signs that the Celtic duo were striking up a bit of a partnership down the left-hand side in the build-up to Giorgos Giakoumakis’ first goal of the afternoon.

I am certainly excited to see their contributions to the squad going forward, and it is great to see both men settling in, looking like they have the potential to be successes for the club.

In other news, Ange Postecoglou talks up Mark Lawwell influence in exciting Celtic transfer update.