Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has chance to make history against Betis
No pressure, Ange Postecoglou, but Celtic could achieve a first tomorrow night with victory over Real Betis.
Remarkably, Celtic have never won in 90 minutes over in Spain. While yes, ties have been won over two legs, the Bhoys have never come away from the country with a victory.
That’s remarkable, given the number of times Celtic have travelled over in the history of continental football.
As the Scotsman points out, Celtic’s bad luck story in Spain began in 1963. Valencia were the victors in the Fairs Cup, winning against the Bhoys 4-2. Ever since then, some big results have been picked up, but never wins.
Consider, for example, John Hartson’s crucial away goal against Celta Vigo in 2004. On our way to the UEFA Cup final, it was possibly the tightest result of the lot, with the Hoops prospering through the Away Goal rule [BBC].
Or the year after, when a young David Marshall denied Barcelona, with Celtic going through in the UEFA Cup [BBC]. Both great results, but neither were wins. The Bhoys would face Villarreal next in that tournament, and the inevitable followed.
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Stormy ties against Atletico Madrid in 1985 and 1974 continued a trend, while more recently, Valencia put paid to Celtic’s European hopes with a 2019 victory in the Mestalla.
Real Betis, perhaps, offer the best chance yet of turning around this historic Hoops hoodoo. But Pellegrini’s side are no mugs, either.
Ange Postecoglou needs to ignore Celtic history
Normally, drawing on the club’s glorious past is a good thing. Just yesterday, we talked about nostalgia, and the value of remembering our UEFA Cup run.
However, this is a tradition that definitely needs curbing. Certainly, a draw would be a creditable result. But this is a tired Betis team who have struggled for form domestically.
Compared to the giants we’ve faced in the past, they’re good, but not quite the same.
While Celtic may still be in flux, this is the kind of challenge you can bet Postecoglou is right up for.
That may require some more of that gung-ho, attacking attitude Postecoglou is known for. And while that will undoubtedly cause heart-in-mouth moments for supporters, it’s the best way to go about breaking this kind of unfortunate streak in Europe.
Postecoglou is on the precipice of ending some unwanted history for Celtic Football Club.
Can he do it?