Ange Postecoglou delivers verdict on Bernabei & Haksabanovic after first Celtic league starts

By John McGinley

October 8, 2022

Ange Postecoglou has praised the performances of Alexandro Bernabei and Sead Haksabanovic against St Johnstone on Saturday after the duo made their first league starts for Celtic.

Haksabanovic has featured off the bench a number of times, but his only start for the Bhoys came away from home to Shakhtar Donetsk. Bernabei’s minutes, meanwhile, had been limited to a substitute appearance in a match already won at Tannadice and a League Cup encounter.

Today was a big moment for both of them, and they came through the test with plaudits.

Photo by PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images

Speaking to reporters after the match, Postecoglou was pleased, stating [Celtic Way]: “I thought Haksa was really good, he was a threat any time he go on the ball running at them or running into little channels. I thought he was really good.

“I thought Alexandro (Bernabei) did well. He got a bit tired towards the end. But to be fair to him, that was his first game of football for quite a while. I thought he showed the attributes we really find exciting.

“He takes the game on and is really aggressive with the ball. His defending is improving, and he is a young player we have high hopes for. It is not easy trying to make your Premiership debut here. It might have been easier to give him that at home, but I thought he handled it really well.

And on the assist that Bernabei provided for Giorgos Giakoumakis to win the match right at the death, Postecoglou added: “He kept going and showed good character. I thought he was tired after about the 75-minute mark but he found the energy to get down the line. It was a good start for him and I think he will be a very good player for us.”

Many supporters were similarly encouraged by the performance of both players. Bernabei had a better first half than the second, but his cross for the Greek striker at the end was sublime.

Haksabanovic meanwhile has played himself into contention for a spot in the team at home to RB Leipzig on Tuesday night, especially if Postecoglou wants to field an especially attacking line-up.

In other news, Celtic given promising Callum McGregor update from knee specialist.