Ange Postecoglou today outlined the next stage in his Celtic development mission

By David Walton

November 10, 2021

Ange Postecoglou has today outlined the next step in his Celtic development plans as he discussed wanting to see improved performances with rotated squads.

The Greek-Australian has just come through a hectic period that has sprung the club’s domestic and European ambitions into life. The Hoops managed to accumulate 7 wins in 8 matches with the confidence returning to Celtic Park once more.

However, he’s generally had to do so with the same core group of players. When Celtic have played well, the likes of Kyogo and Jota have been at the heart of it. Replacements such as Giorgos Giakoumakis and Mikey Johnston, meanwhile, have still to impress.

Ange Postecoglou wants more from his squad (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

And Postecoglou has stated that the next stage in the squad’s development is to continue performing even with key players being left out.

Speaking via Celtic TV, Postecoglou said: “I think it’s still bolstering the depth of our squad and the quality of our squad. In the period before, we obviously had injuries that affected us. In this one I think we managed it a little bit better. But I would still like to have more opportunities to rest players if possible so that we’re avoiding some of the injuries we’re getting at the moment.

“And that’s a tricky one. Particularly when you’re doing well, you’re not changing the team too much so the guys outside the team aren’t getting a lot of game-time. So it’s a balance of trying to get them game-time without affecting our fluency, our cohesion.

“We are genuinely witnessing a really special Celtic front three” | Scott McDonald on 67 Hail Hail

“We are genuinely witnessing a really special Celtic front three” | Scott McDonald on 67 Hail Hail
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

“So as I said I’m hoping that the next level for us is, obviously after this 2-week break we got right through to the new year with a lot of important games, and hopefully we have the ability to call on more players in the squad without it affecting our team performance.”

Ange Postecoglou message is clear – Celtic fringe players need to step up

There are a host of players this could be aimed at. The likes of James McCarthy and Ismaila Soro, for example, have barely been seen. The same goes for the likes of Albian Ajeti and Giakoumakis up top.

The only place you could say we’ve switched things up and had some success is at centre-back. With Carl Starfelt out, Stephen Welsh has been drafted in and coped well against Ferencvaros and Dundee respectively.

But at the moment we’re relying on the same players time and time again. For example, it’s particularly noticeable when Tom Rogic isn’t in the squad. It has a massive effect on Celtic’s play through the centre.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Let’s not get started on how different a side we are without Kyogo. Goodness knows what would happen should Jota pick up an injury too. If Celtic are going to be a successful team, they need to have more trust placed on their squad as a whole. Right now, you can’t say we can look at our fringe options and be overly excited.

It’ll be interesting to see whether this is quality or a morale problem. Perhaps many simply need some time to get up to speed. That’s where this 2-week break becomes absolutely crucial for the players still at Lennoxtown. Many of those fringe men won’t be away with their international teams, meaning it’s a chance to impress the manager.

We may be getting away with it at the moment, but it won’t be long before we start slipping up if we can’t rely on our full squad. Let’s see how this next stage in the squad’s development goes.

In other news, Craig Gordon discusses Celtic departure; explains why it was a “good thing to get away”