Livi player Marvin Bartley launches robust defence of Celtic on BBC Sportsound

By David Walton

October 18, 2021

Livingston midfielder Marvin Bartley has launched a heavy defence of Celtic and manager Ange Postecoglou, as he claimed Hoops supporters are in for a “very exciting” period.

The Hoops have had a stop-start beginning to Postecoglou’s tenure in charge. After a rip-roaring first couple of months in charge, the Hoops went on a run of poor results against the likes of Rangers, Livingston, and Dundee United respectively. A failure to register a point in our opening two Europa League games was also frustrating.

However, this came in the midst of an injury crisis that rocked the club. As things have started to ease and key players have returned, so too has Celtic’s positive form.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Bartley was speaking on BBC Scotland’s Sportsound programme last night, and he was clearly baffled by the criticism Postecoglou has already received so far.

“Looking at Celtic, I’ve seen so many times this season when they’ve lost a game or haven’t played too well, people are thinking ‘oh this manager’s not right, he’s not up to it. There’s a transitional period for what he’s trying to do. He’s trying to go out and attack teams, he’s trying to play in a different way, trying to play with the inverted full-backs etc. There are going to be mistakes made.

“It’s refreshing. He comes out and he speaks and he’s open and he’s honest. I think going forward now he’ll be happy with what he’s got. It’s 9 games we’ve played in the league and he’s probably been written off twice already. What’s going on? It’s going to take time. Listen, they might go again during the season when they have a bit of a blip, but that’s going to happen in football. If you give him time you’re going to see a very, very exciting Celtic team.

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“I was critical of Celtic last season. I said they lost their fear factor. But seeing them go forward, even against us when we beat them 1-0, that fear factor is back. They have those attacking players to really make you think about how you’re going to try and stop them.”

Celtic need a run of success to win over big sections of both media and supporters

You can see already how much a couple of victories can do for a team. Wins over Aberdeen and Motherwell respectively have brought some much needed morale and, more importantly, trust in the manager.

Let’s not pretend it was only the media writing Postecoglou off. There were plenty in the support that had their doubts. Plenty who viewed the Aberdeen game as key if he wanted to keep his job.

How Celtic have responded to the doubt and uncertainty has been impressive to say the least. They’ve shown a bit of fight and character, something supporters simply needed to see from them.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

But the question marks will continue to be there for as long as we’re behind Rangers in the Premiership. That’s the brutal reality of life as a Celtic manager at the moment.

It’s why it’s all the more vital that these successes at Pittodrie and Fir Park represent only the start of a big run. A season-defining run perhaps. The kind of period that sees the connection between a manager and the support grow stronger.

Celtic are at the start of that. You can see that relationship developing between the manager, players, and the supporters after our last 2 wins. But if this marks the start of a highly-successful run of form, trust levels in Postecoglou will reach unseen heights.

In other news, Ferencvaros man Adam Bogdan compares Celtic with Barcelona in glittering review