"Players might run to Hampden"; Celtic boss' brilliant message on how his squad is feeling

By David Walton

April 17, 2022

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has joked his players “might run to Hampden” to face Rangers at Hampden this afternoon.

Ange’s Bhoys come into today’s Scottish Cup semi-final clash against the Ibrox side absolutely blistering with momentum. Celtic haven’t been beaten domestically since September and currently lead the Premiership title-race by 6 points with only 5 games remaining.

In addition to that, the Hoops have had a full week without a match whilst Rangers went through the wringer on Thursday night with a 120-minute display against Braga.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

And as he reflected on his training week, Ange couldn’t have been more emphatic as he described how ready his team is to tackle the game today. Speaking via the Scottish Daily Express [print edition, 16/04, page 85], Ange said: “I’ve said in the last few weeks we are in a good space in terms of health of the squad and the way they are training.

“It’s been a good training week with eight days. We got some good work in and we’re ready to go. The players might run to Hampden to be involved but I’m not – I’m taking the bus.

“Look, the players are excited. When you get to this part of the year it’s the big games of consequence and you want to be part of them. It’s a semi-final at Hampden, it’s an occasion to look forward to.”

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Ange Postecoglou paints a picture of a Celtic side brimming for today’s challenge

It’s easy to see why the morale in the camp would be positive. Given the winning run we’re on and the fact we’ve bossed the last 2 derby matches – we have the psychological edge in this fixture. Perhaps for the first time in several years.

But there’s an added reason to believe we’re in for a big performance today. The last time Celtic had a full week to prepare for an opponent, they gave St Johnstone an absolute Parkhead pasting. 7 goals without reply in a display that could’ve easily seen 10 goals fly past goalkeeper Zander Clark.

Now, we’re not saying Celtic are going to run away with things this afternoon. Rangers will be a lot more up for this than some may think. It’s a Hampden semi-final and teams don’t just dominate it from start to finish. However, last week suggests that Celtic’s energy levels are going to be very difficult for our rivals to compete with.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Ange paints a picture of a Celtic squad extremely hungry to tackle this fixture. A Celtic squad that can’t wait to sink its teeth into Rangers again. After all, this is a group of players that has thrived on the big occasion time and time again already this season.

Nothing less than our best will be acceptable this afternoon. We have to be wary of the momentum Rangers will take from their success against Braga on Thursday night. They’ll have a spring in their step, and only our top levels will be able to overcome that.

Today has the potential to be an extremely special one for the Celtic supporters. If the manager can deliver yet another derby victory, his stock will only rise further.

In other news, First start in over a month, Ange dilemma; Celtic Predicted XI for Scottish Cup derby