What Ange is seeing from fringe players at Lennoxtown is excellent news for Celtic

By John McGinley

December 17, 2021

Ange Postecoglou has praised the focus and determination of players at Celtic who are coming into the first-team from the fringes of the squad or being asked to play out of position.

Postecoglou has had to deal with a number of injury issues in recent weeks. In fact, it’s been the predominant theme of almost every conversation about the way the team is performing.

Whether it’s Liel Abada playing as a striker or Liam Scales coming into the team, there’s a patchwork feeling about starting eleven at the moment.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Ange Postecoglou speaks to 67 Hail Hail about Celtic situation

I got the opportunity to speak to the Celtic manager today for 67 Hail Hail. I wanted to hear from him about the satisfaction of the sum being greater than its parts at the moment.

Results are coming despite a lack of selection options. Ange credits the attitude of the players.

The Bhoys boss told me: “As a manager you want all your players available because there’s a reason you’ve brought them here. You want your best players to be always available and always firing but that’s not how it works.

“The gaffer has been brilliant” | 67 Hail Hail chats to Celtic captain Callum McGregor

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67 Hail Hail (Youtube)
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“The dynamics of football is that things change all the time. People unfortunately don’t get to see us training but everyone trains – it’s not like we separate the group and say ‘this is our starting XI’ and ‘this is the other guys’. They all train together, to the same intensity and with the same expectations.

“Credit to the guys who’ve come in. Not just because they’ve come in and done a job but because it’s the hardest thing in the world for footballers to continually work hard every day without being given an opportunity.

“The levels of motivation you need to come in here every day and put in the same amount of work as the guy next to you but potentially not get the reward of playing at the weekend is difficult.

“That’s the standards we’ve set and it’s why guys like Liam Scales or Liel Abada will do it and do it willingly because they know that’s what they prepare for every day.

“The bottom line is they respect one another and respect the work each other put in. If I ask them to do a job for one week or two weeks then they understand they’re going to do it because it’s best for the group.”

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

All of this, the comments from Ange and what I’m seeing on the pitch, is making me a lot more relaxed about the likes of Kyogo Furuhashi and Jota being missing from action.

I know we’ll need players like this for our biggest games, including the derby on January 2nd, but I’m certainly not as panicky than I was a month ago about the squad depth at Celtic.

This team is settled and moving forward together with unity both at Lennoxtown and in matches. That’s what you love to see as a supporter. It’s all about the team, not individuals.

In other news, Celtic boss Ange responds to Robbie Neilson and David Martindale comments.