European losses frustrate but Celtic boss Postecoglou has still done remarkable job
So, after last night, Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou, the players and supporters have to all dust ourselves down and focus on the domestic tests ahead.
Nobody will be more disappointed this morning than Postecoglou himself. Here’s a manager who refuses to make excuses, a wildly ambitious manager who understands the history and the pressure of managing Celtic Football Club. “He gets it” is a phrase we’ve used a lot this season, and we’ll likely use a lot more.
The fact is, he does. Last night’s disappointment – and let’s be clear, it was a major disappointment – does not change that one iota. And if anything, it’s going to make the Bhoys even more determined to reassert ourselves as the dominant force in Scottish football.
We need a bit of perspective. The Celtic manager was handed an utter nightmare of a squad in the summer. He had players wanting out, players bereft of confidence, stylistically confused and needing major overhaul. That we’re top of the league, with a trophy in the bag and the Scottish Cup very much still in play is remarkable. It is.
And that’s not to say that European football was a bonus, either. Being competitive in Europe is a fundamental part of what makes Celtic, Celtic. We need to improve vastly on that score.
As the autopsies continue over last night, though, we can’t lose sight of the fact that this season could still bring us a heck of a lot. We sit at the top of the Scottish Premiership, without too many games left. The confidence that silverware brings has been delivered in the Premier Sports Cup. There’s a way to go yet, and plenty to be encouraged by.
Ange Postecoglou could still lead Celtic to extremely memorable season
The fact is, Ange Postecoglou has put a buzz back into Celtic.
It’s almost pointless comparing us to last season, given how different the personnel are, the fact there are fans back in stadia, all the other mitigating factors. But we are worlds away from the version of Celtic we saw last season. Albeit, losses on the continent have remained a frustration, but there is still scope for Ange to make history.
Given the sheer scale of the task Ange Postecoglou took on at Celtic, 3 league defeats is considerably impressive [BBC]. So, too, have been the manner of a number of our wins. Last-gasp strikes against Dundee, Dundee United and Ross County have shown the utter shift in mentality under Postecoglou.
So too have the convincing wins, the moments of utter footballing luxury under the Greek-Aussie boss. Whether that’s pasting Dundee 6-0 earlier in the season, or the show of total, unadulterated Angeball against Rangers in a hugely symbolic 3-0 win.
We need to remember all this. Yes, there have been plenty saying that we need to just focus on the league anyway. That the Europa Conference League was a distraction, maybe even the Europa League was, too. I don’t necessarily buy that, and I doubt Celtic boss Postecoglou does either. The Bhoys have become a better side from facing strong European opponents.
The point is, though, that Ange Postecoglou will have taken last night’s result pretty hard. His intention is to win every game. As well it should be.
He could still, though, put us back in our rightful place. He’s a third of the way there. Celtic can become the dominant force in Scottish football once more, and if we do, it’ll be Ange Postecoglou who’ll be celebrated for it.
And it might just be the start.