Ange Postecoglou's vital pre-match message for Celtic youngsters

By Euan Davidson

July 28, 2021

Ange Postecoglou realises the pressure will be on the Celtic squad’s youngsters tonight against FC Midtjylland.

But the Celtic boss, rather than panicking, has delivered a rallying cry to the likes of Dane Murray. After Nir Bitton’s first-leg sending-off, Murray featured at Celtic Park, winning plaudits in the process.

However, a chastening 6-2 defeat to West Ham United has since put supporters in a more cynical frame of mind ahead of tonight.

Postecoglou is keen to use any anxiety to the club’s advantage. Speaking before the match against Midtjylland, the Celtic boss said [via Daily Record]:

“We are in a state of transition and we’ve thrown young kids in and some inexperienced players are getting opportunities, but what a tremendous opportunity.

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“You can’t pick and choose when to make a debut or when your career starts.

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“If you can perform on the biggest of stages when that opportunity arises and this is a fantastic one, why not take it and create something memorable?

“You can always grasp for excuses and reasons why you can’t do something but there’s an opportunity to do something special and it falls on the players who are available. There’s no reason why they can’t take that.

“You talk to any footballer who has had a great career and ask them about their debut and I guarantee with every single one of them it wasn’t planned or programmed. It just fell upon them.

“What the ones who have great careers do is take that opportunity, irrespective of what the venue is or the circumstances of the game.”

Celtic youngsters have been dreaming of a game like this – Postecoglou

Postecoglou continued [Daily Record]:

“I’m excited for them as what they probably all dreamed about when they were 10 years old was to play for Celtic in a big Champions League game. You are also anxious as you want to give them the best possible preparation for it and that falls on me more than them.

“But I’m looking forward to seeing how they perform and I have no doubts they will acquit themselves well.”

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

It’s certainly true, and some prominent recent examples come to mind. David Marshall has had an excellent career, after a pressure-packed European debut against Barcelona. Kieran Tierney, Aiden McGeady and more have made an impact in Europe at a very young age.

So why not Dane Murray? He was part of a largely successful defence last week. The Bhoys limited Midtjylland to just three shots all game [FotMob]. Unfortunately, one went in.

But last week was ample evidence that Ange Postecoglou has a blueprint to win.

All Murray, and his fellow Celtic youngsters have to do is follow it. So, no pressure.

Read more: Celtic youngster joins ex-Bhoys Academy graduate in Ireland