Celtic great Hartson stands firmly behind Postecoglou after Nicholas and Levein nonsense

By Euan Davidson

September 28, 2021

Former Celtic goal-scorer John Hartson has pleaded for patience with manager Ange Postecoglou.

The popular Greek-Aussie still has plenty of credit in the bank with supporters. It’s still only September. However, some disappointing results domestically have had pundits reaching for the hyperbole.

Charlie Nicholas and Craig Levein [Daily Record] have made some particularly questionable comments in recent days about the Celtic manager, effectively ruling the club out of the title race with just 7 games played.

Hartson, though, isn’t buying into the anti-Ange arguments. Having been brought in during a period of real change at the club, Hartson believes the self-critical Postecoglou will have time to improve the Celtic squad.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Speaking on the Go Radio Football Show, Hartson said:

“For me, Ange Postecoglou has to get more time. It’s early in the season, we’ve not won away from home yet. He’ll know that and the biggest pressure is what he will be putting on himself.

“He’s an honest, straight talking guy and he will know the results away from have not been there and not been good enough.

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“Celtic won’t make a change in terms of a managerial role, because if you make a change at this stage, the new manager would have the same problems.

“They would want to bring in their own players, and we know the big problems are in defence. We look all over the shop at times.

“The players are not performing to the level that they can do. You look at the bench, and Adam Montgomery is just a young lad who has come into the group, but he’s expected to come on and win games.

“What does Ange do when a centre forward misses from three yards? Do you sack the manager? Do you start again? I think he needs another window.”

Hartson is right: Celtic boss Postecoglou needs more time and it’s absolutely ludicrous to talk like this so early on

Fine, results haven’t been entirely positive since Postecoglou joined the club. But it’s difficult to see how any manager could’ve had a 100% start given the circumstances.

Postecoglou arrived at a time of significant board upheaval. He had ambitious transfer targets in mind, who proved valuable, but who had to follow Covid-19 protocols at crucial times. Tactically, he’s tried to turn a predictable, one-note outfit into something cohesive and entertaining.

Postecoglou has been ridiculously unlucky with injuries. He’s had to watch as some of the squad’s best players have left. Essentially, he was handed half a squad and some youth players.

Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images

Even since then, he’s had to deal with the CEO leaving abruptly, and an eye-watering fixture schedule has not helped whatsoever. To say there are mitigating circumstances would be under-selling it.

Absolutely, the team need to be better. But short-term thinking is only going to hinder any progress the club wants to make. John Hartson is bang on; the Celtic manager needs another window at least to make his true impression.

Read more: Barnsley owner takes random pop at Celtic and rivals’ “anti-competitive duopoly”