Ange Postecoglou refusing to blame his Celtic players is a vast improvement on 20-21

By Euan Davidson

July 21, 2021

Ange Postecoglou was let down in his first Celtic game. Nir Bitton picked up a daft second yellow for poking FC Midtjylland player Anders Dreyer in the face. After a spell of domination for Celtic, it was the absolute last thing the Bhoys needed.

So you’d understand if Ange Postecoglou was angry with his Celtic players. Instead, he wasn’t. He told BBC Radio Scotland:

“Players don’t let me down. [Bitton had] already been booked, you’ve got to be really careful. It’s disappointing for him, I think he’s the most disappointed out of anyone, because I know how much he wanted to contribute to today.”

Then, Postecoglou refused to proportion any blame onto the players. Admittedly, he bristled a little at the line of questioning he received, but this was still a good result and performance for Celtic. Any shortcomings, Ange took upon himself.

Postecoglou said [Scottish Sun]:

“I don’t think we will ever be as badly prepared as we were tonight – and that’s on me – going into such an important game.

“We have eight more days I feel confident that the preparation and the spirt we have, we will put in a good performance.

“It is on me.

“I don’t think I’m at a disadvantage, my role is to try and support these players and try to prepare them the best I can for what is in front of us.

“I haven’t done a great job so far to be honest, because with the disruptions we’ve had, we haven’t been able to bring the players in.”

Consider last season. Neil Lennon blasted his players after the loss to Ferencvaros, identifying that there were players who wanted to leave, and questioning their attitude and mentality [Daily Record].

There were countless examples of this kind of response. Or, he’d kid the support on, and tell us that inadequate performances were good enough.

This isn’t martyrdom from Ange Postecoglou; it’s accountability

It’s strange that Ange Postecoglou, or anyone is really talking this way. Celtic looked excellent value, undone by a moment of madness and bad luck from a set piece.

It wasn’t a disaster. But some will see anything less than a win in Europe, against quality opposition, to be something of a crisis. Instead, it was Postecoglou’s first competitive game. With one arm tied behind his back, too, given the slowness of Celtic’s transfer action so far.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Yet, he promises far better preparation, and takes the “blame” for a performance that most would’ve come away quite happy from. Because, flash-points aside, Celtic were night and day from the directionless, plodding version we saw in 20-21.

This was a Celtic with impetus, with speed, and motivation. New players and those brought in from the cold performed Postecoglou’s instructions to a T.

So, it’s not some “woe is me” performance from Postecoglou here. It’s a mentality thing. Anything less than winning seems utterly unacceptable to him. No excuses, nothing.

Now, tell me that isn’t a change of pace from last season.

READ MORE: The Celtic defender who showed huge improvement last night