Chris Sutton on what Celtic boss Postecoglou has to avoid from Lennon tenure

By Euan Davidson

October 15, 2021

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton has laid down a challenge for Bhoys boss Ange Postecoglou.

The beloved ex-striker and popular pundit suggests that there’s not huge pressure on Postecoglou. He did say, though, that it’s “vital” Celtic are competitive in domestic and European competition.

And, that Postecoglou needs to avoid the kind of form that sank Neil Lennon’s second spell at the club.

With Postecoglou set to welcome back a number of players from injury, a successful Autumn run-in will be crucial to any title challenge. Equally, a double-header against Ferencvaros could determine whether Celtic compete in Europe beyond Christmas.

The former Bhoys striker said [Daily Record]:

“You just have to look back to this time last year.

“Celtic were coming back from the break and heading in to the first Old Firm game of the season on the back of eight straight wins.

“But the wheels came off in spectacular fashion with just one win in 11 games leaving the 10-in-a-Row hopes in total tatters.

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“Neil Lennon never recovered from that point and the damage is still being repaired now.

“I’ve said before, there shouldn’t be the pressure on Postecoglou to win the title this year given the mess he inherited.

“It’s vital they start climbing the table to put pressure on Rangers – but they also need to put on a performance against Ferencvaros on Tuesday. That doesn’t mean his Celtic side shouldn’t be competitive in the Premiership and in Europe.

“Postecoglou’s side is a work in progress but they still can’t be the group also-rans. There’s European football after Christmas up for grabs even if they finish third in the section so ending up rock bottom is almost unthinkable. These are all questions for the coming weeks and the manager will need to come up with some answers.”

Chris Sutton is right, but Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou surely knows this already

Essentially: Win a bunch of games, says Chris Sutton to Ange Postecoglou.

Fine, maybe it’s not quite as simple as that. But there are some enormous challenges facing Celtic across multiple fronts. Without putting any more pressure on the Celtic boss, he’ll know himself there are several must-win games here.

A result against Ferencvaros on Tuesday would go a long way to improving confidence in the squad. Equally, there’s zero margin for error domestically, having lost to Hearts, Rangers and Livingston already this season.

Motherwell await tomorrow, and it’s a typically testy affair at Fir Park. The challenges of Hibs, St Johnstone and Livingston (at home) are also ones the boss has to negotiate.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Postecoglou understands all this, though. His mandate is to win games of football for Celtic. As fixture run-ins go, it’s not easy, but there aren’t too many that the Bhoys would be expected to lose, either.

Admittedly, Ferencvaros are in fine form. But are they a better side than Celtic, man for man? It’s hard to argue that they are.

Every part of the season is crucial. But as managers prior have found out before, like Tony Mowbray and John Barnes, the Autumn to Winter period can really be the making – or breaking – of a league campaign.

Chris Sutton has been in many of these types of periods himself, with Celtic. Now it’s Ange Postecoglou’s go at establishing some momentum to take into the New Year.

Read more: Former Celtic captain Tom Boyd to brave the Arctic Circle