"We're not going to be in a race with them"; Ange Postecoglou's brilliant comments on Celtic rivalry

By John McGinley

June 10, 2022

Ange Postecoglou has been reflecting on his first year in charge of Celtic, going over a number of topics from last season as part of a new special programme aired by Sky Sports next week.

One of the areas Postecoglou covers is the matches against Rangers and how defining they were for the direction of the league title.

Postecoglou has stated that after the first meeting between the two clubs last season, which resulted in a defeat at Ibrox, he resolved to make sure everyone knew Celtic weren’t competing with Rangers, but themselves.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

It’s that attitude that eventually culminated in the Bhoys winning the two most important league derbies of the campaign in 2022, once at Celtic Park and another at Ibrox.

Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “My personal view, and I made it after that game [1-0 defeat], was that we’re not going to be in a race with them, we’ve got to be in a race with ourselves.

“I think that’s going to work better because I thought they’re going to get a bit of a break on us here, they’re going to be a few points ahead and people will say it’s over. From pretty much that point on I didn’t mention any another team whether it be Rangers or any team, it’s about us. Let’s just do our job.”

Postecoglou goes on to state that the 3-0 victory over Rangers in February was a ‘massive shift’ for the entire club, both in tangible terms and for the perception of how people viewed Celtic.

He continued to Sky Sports: “That created a massive shift for us in terms of going forward. I think if we’d got beat that night and Rangers had outplayed us you’re going, ‘the gap is four points, we’ve got to play them twice and we’ve still got to convince people that we’re capable of knocking them off’.

“The manner of how everything happened that night, I just thought, ‘well okay, now my job is to make sure we stay on course’. I think the players and the staff got a real sense of belief out of that game.”

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – FEBRUARY 02: Reo Hatate of Celtic celebrates with his team-mates after scoring his team’s second goal during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and Rangers FC at on February 02, 2022 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Matches against Rangers next season will again be massive. But Postecoglou will make sure he doesn’t get distracted by constant chatter about them.

He managed to expertly brush off questions about the points gap, who is playing after who and plenty more focused on the rivalry throughout 2021/22.

For him, it’s all about Celtic and about what he can control. Nothing else matters.

In other news, Senior City Group director pays tribute to Ange Postecoglou for job done at Celtic.