Celtic boss on the risk he's taking with Bhoys squad

By Euan Davidson

December 5, 2021

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou has admitted he’s taking a risk with the Hoops squad, from a tactical and fitness perspective.

With the Celtic players expected to maintain maximum intensity over 90 minutes, with an aggressive high press, the Greek-Aussie boss has confessed that wear and tear is part of the programme.

Celtic saw three players – Jota, Stephen Welsh and Anthony Ralston – come off against Hearts. Unfortunately, says the manager, it’s par for the course with a packed schedule and the manner his team plays.

Photo by Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

Perhaps that’s why the arrival of Anton McElhone, to improve the all-round conditioning of the squad, was greeted with such glee at Celtic Park.

The Hoops boss, ahead of a trip to Tannadice to face Dundee United, said [Herald]:

“We’re playing so many games that some wear and tear is inevitable.

“Couple that with how we play our football and how we train and it’s always a fine line between pushing the guys to the maximum and trying to ensure we don’t overload them.  

“With so many games and our squad being limited in certain areas, some of the guys are having to back up. It’s the risk you run when you try to do things the way we do.”

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This is a Celtic squad still improving tactically and physically; Ange Postecoglou and his players understand the risk

From day one, Postecoglou’s mantra has been that if you follow his advice, you’ll have success with him.

A demanding manager, make no mistake, Ange Postecoglou excited the supporters with his intensity. That’s being matched by the players.

Of course, there are drawbacks. Fitness is going to be an issue. There might be good players who Postecoglou would ideally use, who just don’t have the physical tools.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Crafting a squad capable of playing to his style week-in, week-out, is a challenge in itself.

Little wonder, then, he’s making big plans for the January transfer window. However, the squad available to Postecoglou have, by and large, excelled at meeting his demands.

Obviously, Postecoglou will have explained the risks to his players. The ones who are doing best are clearly attuned to the pros and cons of playing with such intensity. It’s been the making of players like Anthony Ralston and Jota, two players Celtic will have to do without today at Tannadice.

Read more: Ange irked by heavy criticism towards area of Celtic squad; stats back him up