Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou in brilliant dig at rivals after winter break drama

By Euan Davidson

December 23, 2021

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has made a subtle dig at Rangers amidst the Winter break being brought forward.

Last night, just before Celtic kicked off against St Mirren, the SPFL rescheduled their Winter fixture list. The break, instead of being in January, will start after St Stephen’s Day’s fixtures. Two games, Celtic v Hibernian and Celtic v Rangers, have been rescheduled.

An entirely understandable situation, given the rise of Covid-19 cases in the Scottish top-flight. However, Ange has accused the minority against the rescheduling – Rangers and Ross County – of “violin playing” over a move that the majority of the league agreed upon.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Primarily, Rangers wanted to avoid three players being called up to the African Cup of Nations during a Glasgow Derby. However, Celtic have their own international issues to contend with in late January/early February. Asked about Rogic and Kyogo potentially being unavailable to face Rangers, Celtic boss Postecoglou was determined.

He said [Herald]: “If they get called up they will be [unavailable].

“There is a lot of violin playing around the place, we are not going to be one of them. I am very supportive of our club’s stance. It makes sense to me to use the natural break.

“I have said all along that fans are an integral part of this game. If having that break gives us a chance, without guarantees, to get them back in it’s much better.

“I don’t like playing closed doors – fans are an important part home and away.”

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Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou refuses to give excuses pre-emptively, Rangers statement surely coming

So we can add “violin player” to the list of things Ange Postecoglou is not. Along with being an accountant, or being in any way responsible for ticketing.

Of course, he’s right; playing games behind closed doors is something we want to absolutely avoid. Rangers’ opposition to the Celtic statement, something supported across the league, was telling. Given they won the league with nobody in to watch last season, it’s hardly surprising.

That, and the concern over international players heading to a tournament. Arguably, Celtic have more integral players heading away for internationals. Kyogo, if called up for Japan, has games against China and Saudi Arabia to navigate.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Australia have Oman and Vietnam – hopefully he isn’t called up for games the Socceroos should expect to win comfortably.

In any event, it’s funny to hear Ange Postecoglou being so frank about it all. There is some considerable whinging. It was expected to a degree but the logic is specious and it comes across as rather petty and small-time.

Read more: “I don’t rest players”; Celtic boss clears up Joe Hart confusion in BBC interview