Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou bemoans a lack of belief after Preston defeat

By Euan Davidson

July 17, 2021

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou has said his players lacked belief in the 1-0 loss to Preston North End.

With an incredibly young squad greeting 2,000 supporters at Paradise, there was expectancy from the small crowd and millions watching to make an impression. With Champions League qualifiers against FC Midtjylland coming very soon, some concerning signs emerged.

The Bhoys lacked sharpness, with neither Ajeti or Edouard having any real opportunities on goal. Postecoglou explained [Premier Sports] that he wanted a far better performance, but understood the result.

Postecoglou said [Premier Sports]:

“We struggled at the beginning to get a real grip on the game. We lost a little belief, lost our structure a little bit. It was a struggle the whole game.

“It’s not about being worried [about Champions League action] or anything. I just wanted a better performance today. To be fair, the players are working hard at training, we’re obviously going through a bit of a heavy workload. So they’re not going to be as sharp as they can be.

“I don’t think it was intensity, I just think we lost a little belief at the start. We didn’t get off to a good start. And with such a young group out there, we didn’t get a grip on the game.

“Hopefully we make amends on Tuesday.”

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou: his biggest job could be restoring confidence

Typically blunt and honest, Ange Postecoglou wasn’t making excuses, rather he was giving reasons. Still, at this stage of the campaign, you’d expect the core of the team to be far more match fit than today’s evidence suggested.

There were some pleasing phases of play, but broadly speaking, a very young Celtic squad were outclassed by the streetwise Preston North End, under Scottish boss Frankie McAvoy.

Given how little confidence Celtic showed last season, Ange Postecoglou has a significant job to do restoring some life in this dressing room. Some nervy performances, including Scott Bain’s rather reckless tackle to concede a penalty, showed there’s still an anxiety from the Lennon era.

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

With so many young players on the field, it’s natural that a slow start would knock confidence. And as Postecoglou says, there was a lack of real bite from this Celtic team, who struggled to make headway throughout.

Let’s not get too carried away, this was a friendly after all, and with a very experimental line-up. However, it’s easy to look at Tuesday night’s game with a suspicious eye after a lacklustre outing from the Bhoys.

Postecoglou plans to make amends. And you can bet he’ll be pondering his selection for Tuesday very carefully indeed.

READ MORE: BY giving Postecoglou some transfer control, Celtic are following their own solid precedent