Ange Postecoglou explains why he entrusted Celtic youngster Dane Murray vs Midtjylland

By David Walton

July 22, 2021

Ange Postecoglou has explained why he handed Celtic youngster Dane Murray a debut against Midtjylland.

The Hoops faced off against the Danes in our UCL 2QR first-leg clash at Parkhead on Tuesday night. Despite cruising at 1-0, Nir Bitton’s foolish sending off meant Postecoglou needed to turn to a centre-back.

Liam Shaw and Osaze Urhoghide were both on the bench after featuring regularly in pre-season. However, in a surprising twist, Postecoglou turned to Murray when he needed to bring a defender on.

The Celtic support were also given glimpses of the 18-year-old during pre-season. And Postecoglou has explained that it was just his gut feeling that he would take to the occasion.

As quoted by the Glasgow Times, Postecoglou said: “Coming on to the pitch, a young guy who was born in 2003. I can remember 2003 very clearly.

“You know how young he is and he is not just coming on the pitch, he is facing a formidable opponent and with 10 men. But you know what? My gut instinct told me he wouldn’t be fazed by it.

“I watched him in training and he is a young kid, not just with football potential, but personality and character that belies his age. I was quite happy to trust him out there and it was an important part of the game, we were down to 10 men and we had to work very hard.”

Stephen Welsh and Dane Murray look certain to start for Celtic in Denmark

Next week we could be seeing the future of the Celtic backline in Denmark. Given Bitton is suspended, Murray could be the man who has to slot in.

It feels unlikely that Postecoglou will now turn to Shaw or Urhoghide. Their time will come. But with Murray impressing in the first-leg, it would feel pointless not to give him the opportunity in Denmark.

The centre-back made some timely interventions against Bo Henriksen’s men in the second half. Whilst there were some initial concerns about his distribution out from the back, Murray grew into the game and became an imposing figure.

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Now he’s put himself into an incredible position. Carl Starfelt isn’t eligible to feature next week. Chris Jullien remains sidelined. With Bitton also suspended, the mantle will be given to Murray.

Ideally, Postecoglou gives him some more minutes against West Ham on Saturday. It’s important to get him as used to Celtic first-team action as possible. Featuring against David Moyes’ men will stand him in good stead for next week.

And Celtic fans could be set to watch on as a new star emerges.

In other news: KV Mechelen sporting director addresses the Marian Shved/Celtic situation