Postecoglou explains why Celtic voted for SPFL rule that will come into effect v Hibernian

By Euan Davidson

January 13, 2022

Ange Postecoglou has explained why Celtic supported the SPFL’s initiative to bring back 5 in-game substitutions.

During the 20-21 season, the Scottish Premiership and leagues around the world introduced 5 substitutions during matches. That was owing to the bite of the Covid-19 pandemic, which had a massive impact on player availability, training and fitness.

SPFL clubs were asked if they wanted to bring back the 5 subs rule, as Omicron continues to bite. It’ll be reintroduced as early as Monday, when Celtic take on Hibernian.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

It’s something that Ange Postecoglou has supported, although he admits he was iffy on the concept when it was introduced in Japan.

Postecoglou said [Celtic FC/YouTube, 04:23]: “Yeah, we supported it.

“When it was initially brought in, a year ago we had it in Japan as well, initially I wasn’t that for it. I thought it kind of changes the game. But with what’s happened in the world the last 18 months, the preferred option of most leagues around the world is to continue as-is in terms of the number of games.

“We don’t want to be cutting down seasons or abbreviating seasons. It’s just meant that there’s too much of a load on players. 5 subs gives every club, irrespective of your strength in the squad, the opportunity to not over-burden your core group of players.

“You can look at leagues around the world where injury rates are going up because of the demands put on players. Obviously with Covid still being around, being a factor, it makes sense to go to 5 subs, and give every player and every club the chance to look after their players.”

Daizen Maeda already loving Glasgow, as Ange bolsters Celtic backroom team

Daizen Maeda already loving Glasgow, as Ange bolsters Celtic backroom team
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

The 5 subs rule makes sense for Postecoglou, Celtic, the Scottish Premiership and football in general during pandemic

Let’s be blunt; we won’t have football to watch if the players weren’t being looked after properly.

During the pandemic, we had life without football on a regular basis. It was rubbish. Nobody wants that again, surely?

So, clubs and leagues need to do everything they can to ensure, during this pandemic, that players are being looked after. That they aren’t being over-exerted. Given how Covid-19 has messed up fixture schedules over the last 2 years, 5 subs makes total sense.

Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

It’s not as if clubs are obligated to use 5 substitutes every time. But the reality is that, oftentimes, training schedules have been disrupted, or player recovery has been disrupted. With the number of fixtures needing completed, players are often rushed back from isolation. All of these kinds of issues build up. The injury lists speak for themselves.

Safeguarding against that is imperative.

So, naturally, Postecoglou and Celtic voted for this. Who wouldn’t? Yes, some will grumble about the difference in squad depth. Or, they’ll feel it’s being forced upon them from up high. There will be complaints, some serious, some less so.

But Scotland needs to follow the rest of the footballing world here. Until we can be assured that the pandemic has gone, this is one player welfare measure leagues can take.

Read more: Ange Postecoglou in relaxed mood after Celtic pursuit of Riley McGree