Ange Postecoglou in brilliant response to Celtic European narrative; fans will love it

By Euan Davidson

December 7, 2021

Ange Postecoglou has said that Celtic v Betis in the Europa League is still a massive game, and he’s play in it if he could.

The former right-back, who had 4 caps for Australia, admits he’s probably not in the best physical shape at 56. But he made a wider point about the opportunity that’s come before the Celtic squad, with Real Betis coming to town on Thursday.

Celtic are out of the Europa League. However, a European night is a European night, and Postecoglou is refusing to damp any excitement fans or players might have. As a closer to Group G, Celtic performed admirably winning twice in the group, but the quality of Leverkusen and Betis showed.

Photo by NEIL HANNA/AFP via Getty Images

Postecoglou said [Herald]:

“A dead rubber? No games are ever a dead rubber.

“Every game is an opportunity to do something special, do something that is memorable. I don’t see it as a dead rubber.

“It’s not about resting guys. I need to give some game time to players, that’s for sure. As we saw with the last game, whether it’s injuries or being able to rotate, I need players who have game time under their belts. Thursday is a great opportunity for some of the guys who haven’t played much recently to get 90 minutes in.

“We’ve still got eight games between now and the break – including the Cup Final – so we want everyone up and running.

“I’ve got one bad knee and I’m overweight – but I’d love to play. I don’t think anyone wouldn’t want that opportunity. European nights are always special for this club.”

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Ange Postecoglou has the perfect attitude for Celtic v Betis; end the group with a bang

Admittedly, it won’t be a “full strength” Celtic that face Betis on Thursday night. Rotation – at this point – is essential. We’re more than likely to see Mikey Johnston, Liam Scales, James McCarthy and others get game-time. Perhaps even Albian Ajeti too.

It might be a good chance for Tobi Oluwayemi to get his first-team debut. He’s been on the bench against Ferencvaros and Bayer Leverkusen.

Even then, this is a game Celtic should be trying to win. That’s got to always be the attitude, and it’s the kind of occasion that Hoops players should be excited for, regardless of the material outcome.

Photo by Jan Kruger – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Would we like to play Betis in more fortuitous circumstances? Undoubtedly, but the fact remains it’s a game under the Celtic Park lights against quality opposition.

That should be a motivator for fringe players in the Celtic squad, regardless of what their future holds in January or beyond.

Postecoglou would go out there himself if he could.

Read more: Neil Doncaster announces “hugely significant” Celtic transfer boost