Ange Postecoglou expresses his Celtic Champions League regret
Ange Postecoglou has admitted it still bothers him that Celtic didn’t progress to the Champions League group stage this season.
In the qualifying rounds, the Bhoys came up against a very decent FC Midtjylland side. Although Postecoglou had nowhere near the squad at his disposal now, the Danish club were pushed all the way, with Celtic losing in extra-time of the second leg [BBC].
It was understandable, given the injuries, suspensions and lack of options Postecoglou had at his disposal. Yet, it’s a disappointment that still rankles with the Greek-Aussie boss.
There have been suggestions that European football, be it Champions League or Europa League, is something of a bonus this season. Not Postecoglou, who’s spoken of its value.
He did that again yesterday, expressing his Champions League regret, but also his ambition for Celtic in the short-term.
Postecoglou said [Daily Record]:
“Every time we play in Europe, that opportunity is there for these players, particularly as we’re trying to build a team and play a certain way.
“The more opportunity you get to do that against top opposition, and that’s what we’ll face, you want to take it. You don’t want to dismiss it.
“I’m disappointed we didn’t make the Champions League. I’ll be disappointed if we don’t get through the Europa League. I’ll be disappointed if we haven’t got European football in the New Year. Because those are the kind of opportunities you want to develop and grow.
“For us, that’s the main goal and aim.”
Ange Postecoglou shows exactly the right ambition for Celtic job with Champions League comments
Based on the size of our club, how many titles we’ve won in recent years, and the players we’ve had at our disposal, we should have been in the Champions League more often.
That’s not controversial to say. However, if there was a season for which not qualifying was entirely understandable, it was this one. Postecoglou had the skeleton of a squad to work with. Running Midtjylland so close is probably an achievement in itself.
So, to hear Postecoglou talk about how disappointed he still is not to have qualified? That sets a precedent, an ambitious one at that. Clearly, the board will know what he thinks he can achieve. It’s incumbent on them to back him to the hilt.
Considering the celebratory scenes after qualifying for the Europa League group stage, the Champions League would be special. Of course, this year, the coefficient means that the Scottish Champions will be in the group stages of the 22-23 competition.
With the money and the experience that brings, it’s absolutely imperative, then, that Celtic win the title. The club can only get better by facing top opposition.