The Ange Postecoglou Celtic myth that doesn't stand up to scrutiny

By John McGinley

October 4, 2021

As we head into another international break, it’s a good time to reflect on the Celtic season so far under Ange Postecoglou – what’s gone wrong and what’s gone right.

One of the major theories circulating around his Celtic team at the moment is that he needs to change his playing style, or be more pragmatic, in order to pick up consistent results in the Scottish Premiership.

But it’s a myth.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Celtic have already played some of their hardest games of the season, away from home, and yet have only conceded six league goals. The same amount as Rangers and only one more than the Premiership best, Hearts.

Is anyone telling Steven Gerrard or Robbie Neilson they need to be more pragmatic? Of course not.

Now, I’m obviously not going to try and prevent criticism of the Celtic defence, that’d be similarly absurd. There have been some poor defensive displays so far in the league, but it’s not because Postecoglou is playing firebrand football that is ill-suited to the Premiership.

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Individual errors and set-piece lapses have been at the heart of our most frustrating conceded goals at Tynecastle, Ibrox and Pittodrie. That needs to be fixed, but it won’t come from Ange fielding a more conservative line-up or tactical shape.

In Europe, as we saw with Brendan Rodgers’ sides of the past, it’s a difficult leap to be as bold and progressive with the ball against improved opposition. Eight goals conceded against Real Betis and Bayer Leverkusen is clear evidence of that. But Celtic are definitely a work in progress at the continental level and it’s a bit early to judge on that front, in my opinion.

In the league, where it counts right now, Celtic are set up in a satisfying way to score goals and prevent them at the other end. We have the best goal difference in the league right now.

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I’m not saying that absolves Celtic of their current league position or points total, but likewise, making hasty judgements about Ange just not getting how to tactically play in Scotland is silly.

Let’s now see what we can do after the international break with a squad getting back to full fitness and confidence growing in this brand new team unit. I am quietly confident results can come with the consistency we need.

In other news, Ange’s encouraging Jota comments after Celtic impact.