Ange Postecoglou ready to hit reset button on underperforming Celtic players' careers

By David Walton

July 8, 2021

Ange Postecoglou is ready to allow underperforming Celtic stars such as Albian Ajeti and Vasilis Barkas to hit the reset button on their careers.

Celtic’s summer recruitment last season has largely been criticised for the inability to bring in players who would go on to help the cause. Indeed, both Barkas and Ajeti were brought in at considerable cost yet failed to impress.

So far, however, it appears that Postecoglou is willing to see what level they’re at before making a definitive verdict on their long-term futures. Both men played against Sheffield Wednesday in our first pre-season game yesterday, with Ajeti bagging the first goal of the Postecoglou era.

And the new boss has admitted that he’s open to giving them a chance to resurrect their flailing Celtic careers.

As quoted by the Glasgow Times, Postecoglou said: “I’m totally open minded about it. Everyone starts with a clean slate. Everyone’s got an opportunity to show what they can do.

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“I think everyone will be disappointed with last year. The whole playing group and all the staff come back determined to make amends for what happened last year. Whatever did happen last year, the important thing is how you react this year, how you are training and what your attitude is like. I’ve got no complaints about any of the players. 

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“I’m sure Barky and a few of the boys struggled a little bit, but that’s in the past now. Now it’s an opportunity for all of them to embrace what we’re doing. If they want to be part of what’s happening, they just have to show me with their performances in training and matches.”

Ange Postecoglou giving Celtic players a chance to show their worth

When looking at Barkas and Ajeti’s performances over the last 12 months, nobody can say they’ve been success stories. In fact, you would be well within your rights to criticise what they’ve offered the club over the last year.

But let’s not forget that all players barring a select one or two underperformed to differing degrees last term.

Odsonne Edouard was decent but not spectacular. Ryan Christie suddenly became ineffective in the final third. Mohamed Elyounoussi barely offered us a consistent threat. Diego Laxalt arrived as a promising-looking wing-back before his performances took a major dip too.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The fact is that there are reasons for the slump that Ajeti and Barkas have been in. They aren’t the only ones to have struggled or seen their form dip. You have to put it down to the management last season.

Not to mention that Barkas and Ajeti had it tougher than most too. Barkas came from Greece in the middle of a pandemic. We’ve seen with players such as Hatem Elhamed how difficult that can be. He moved to a totally new footballing environment and lifestyle culture. Leeway needs to be given.

And Postecoglou is offering them just that. Fingers crossed it sparks a revival in both. It would certainly be an ideal boost.

In other news: CELTIC fans are to get ready for some big club announcements next week