Difficulties are mounting up for Celtic out of their control; Ange won't make excuses

By Euan Davidson

March 4, 2022

It’s that time of the season again; Celtic and Ange Postecoglou have to travel to Livingston, a place where – for multiple reasons, the Hoops have been frustrated.

Even the most typically optimistic supporters are feeling the anxiety. It’s about as exciting as a trip to the dentist, or filing a tax return. The thought of going to West Lothian is, admittedly, a drag. And there are various factors as to why that is.

The crucial one is, quite obviously, the pitch at the Tony Macaroni Arena. Scott McDonald described it as “crap” when speaking to 67 Hail Hail earlier today, and it’s very hard to disagree with him. The Hoops have just never found their rhythm on that surface, even though our rivals across the league haven’t had quite the same problems.

Plastic pitches and Celtic are a toxic mix. At some point, though, Celtic have to conquer that problem. The club surely have the resources to provide a plastic surface to train on, for example.

That, and the tactics Livingston deploy. All season long, particularly at the start, there were questions about how Celtic would go against a low block. How Celtic would navigate past 7, 8, or even 9, 10-man defences. Ange Postecoglou found a way last night, and that’s encouraging. But still, the dread remains.

Then we get to the record itself. The longer Celtic go without convincingly beating Livingston, the more this narrative builds. The more difficult it’ll be in the future.

These are all valid concerns. But will Ange Postecoglou make any excuses? Will he hell.

67 Hail Hail chats to Postecoglou and McGregor after another huge Celtic win | With Scott McDonald

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67 Hail Hail chats to Postecoglou and McGregor after another huge Celtic win | With Scott McDonald
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67 Hail Hail (Youtube)
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Ange Postecoglou knows the scope of the challenge facing Celtic, but whatever the result, he won’t make excuses

The Celtic boss has been pretty consistent on this.

In December, he said [Sky Sports]: “The guys have been brilliant in terms of not making excuses or looking for excuses.” In fairness, so has he. It’d be trite to list every excuse Ange Postecoglou could’ve made since joining Celtic.

But let’s scratch the surface a bit: Rebuild year. Top talents leaving. The remnants of Covid-19. Confidence being on the floor from last year. Hilariously bad refereeing. A hectic schedule. Injuries. Players settling in. Injuries. Poorly made ‘4G’ pitches. Again, injuries.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Through it all, though, it’s not as if Ange has burst into tears and gone “this just isn’t fair”. If anything, he seems to relish the challenges that being a Celtic boss has thrown his way.

On Sunday, though, he’ll face a bogey team, who’ll pack the 18-yard box, on a surface that would be barely good enough for youth rugby.

Will he make excuses about those factors, or any? Not on your life.

And that’s just what Celtic have needed this season.

Read more: Celtic are about to become even more threatening