The ridiculous lengths Celtic boss had to go to in order to protect his players at Alloa

By David Walton

January 26, 2022

Ange Postecoglou had to order his Celtic players to stop going in for tackles at Alloa due to fears over their safety on Saturday.

The controversy over Saturday’s physical contest just keeps continuing ahead of tonight’s Premiership tussle at Hearts. Alloa boss Barry Ferguson has already blown a gasket after being questioned over his player’s overly-aggressive nature [Daily Record]. Postecoglou, meanwhile, has been left infuriated with the challenge that left Yosuke Ideguchi with a nasty injury [Celtic TV].

Celtic have a host of injury concerns heading into tonight’s game vs Hearts. Both Ideguchi and Callum McGregor had to come off with significant injuries at the Indodrill Stadium in particular.

Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images

And as he reflected further on the Scottish Cup tie Clackmannanshire, Ange has revealed he even told his players to stop committing to challenges for their own protection.

As quoted by the Daily Record, Ange said: “Since I started managing 25 years ago, there has always been little tweaks in the rules but one consistent theme is they always show us tackles that are deemed to be dangerous or reckless and they will always get punished because it is a big part of the protection of players. This year was no different and if you show footage of that tackle [Niang on Ideguchi], it was exactly the vision we get shown, to know that is going to be handled by the referee.

“I will be honest, I told some of the lads towards the end of the game to just not to bother going into tackles and just look after themselves because I didn’t want any more injuries. I just didn’t feel there was control of that environment.

“Sometimes players are just reckless but that doesn’t mean it is excusable. We had a player who had a serious injury, there’s a couple of others who were lucky to escape from that and that is why I was disappointed with the way the night panned out.”

Ange Postecoglou showing a different side as Celtic players’ protection comes under threat

This is such an interesting new side we’re seeing to the manager. Normally, he’s happy to brush off incidents in previous games and move on. Even in matches in which we’ve failed to win, Ange is normally quick to shrug off the refereeing performance or the controversial moments.

But the Alloa clash appears to have rankled with him. There’s something about that one that has him furious and it’s clear to see in his comments on the game since the match. Whether it be his post-match interviews, an exclusive with Celtic TV, or his pre-Hearts media duties, Ange won’t allow himself to forget what happened at the Indodrill.

It’s no mystery as to why either. He believes his players are not getting enough protection. Niang was allowed to make his challenge on Ideguchi and get away with a yellow card. There are also clearly a host of other moments in the match in which Ange feels Alloa stepped over the mark.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

We have to make it clear that Ange isn’t saying that Alloa purposefully went out to hurt Celtic players. This was likely an overly-aggressive approach to try and unsettle the Hoops. They were entitled to approach the game that way if they wished. It was down to the referee to ensure he kept a lid on things.

And that is where Ange’s frustration comes from. Not necessarily from Alloa themselves, but from the fact Don Robertson never managed to control the situation. Now, we’re left with 2 players injured and fortunate it wasn’t more.

Hopefully, we aren’t left counting the cost of it at Tynecastle tonight.

In other news, Celtic boss explains how Scottish football can solve its refereeing crisis after Alloa shambles