Experienced coach soothes Celtic Champions League concern; what Ange wants "deep down"

By John McGinley

August 2, 2022

Long-time Ange Postecoglou ally Peter Cklamovski has insisted Celtic won’t be approaching this season’s Champions Leagues campaign recklessly.

There’s been an underlying narrative for the last few months that Celtic are set to be torn apart in the UEFA tournament this season, with Postecoglou undoubtedly sticking to his tactical guns rather than drastically altering his approach.

However, Cklamovski, who worked with Ange in Australia and Japan, believes that the Celtic boss will be urging the team to take their defensive priorities seriously too. Postecoglou’s footballing style isn’t all for show, first and foremost the manager sees it as the most functional way to pick up results.

Photo by Kristian Skeie – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Speaking to The Times, he said: “They play a certain way not because he likes the way it looks but because it is successful. If you can bring that style to bear, it doesn’t matter who it is, it’s 11 v 11, a game of football. Ange’s football is attacking and aggressive, and Celtic’s way of playing is fantastic to watch. They’ll try to do it in the Champions League too.

“But within all of that, don’t be naive enough to think they’re not ready to defend the box and be strong when they need to be to grind out periods of the game: they did it last year a couple of times as well. That’s embedded into their game. Of course, they want to dominate as much as they can, but when it’s time to roll the sleeves up, they’ll know how to do it.

“The journey of the Champions League will be the same as we’ve seen in the Scottish Premiership. Look to attack and dominate as much as possible, take the game to the opponent to look to hurt them. I know deep down he wants Real Madrid at Celtic Park, and, if that happens, he’ll want to take it to them.”

It’s undoubtedly going to be difficult for Celtic in Europe this season. The evidence suggests we’re facing an uphill battle to finish third, never mind second, in the group. Our performance against Bodo/Glimt in the second half of last term doesn’t exactly inspire confidence either.

Nonetheless, I’m not dreading what’s ahead. I’m looking forward to seeing Postecoglou’s Celtic throw themselves into an exciting and dramatic set of six matches against the continent’s best. We know the manager won’t hold back or be too pragmatic, so the debate shouldn’t be whether he will or not, but whether the team can execute on his ambition.

Ultimately, it just comes down to proving it on the pitch, cutting through all the inevitable noise that is follow about Celtic’s chances.

In other news, “He offers something different”; Harry Kewell’s early Celtic impact and influence.