What Ange Postecoglou and his Celtic side cannot do after heartbreak in Germany

By Euan Davidson

November 26, 2021

It’d be easy, natural even, for Ange Postecoglou and his Celtic side to feel deflated after last night’s loss in Germany.

Bayer Leverkusen were – undoubtedly – there for the taking. Celtic led 2-1 for long spells, but the extra quality of Leverkusen’s side, combined with frailties in the defence, meant it just wasn’t to be.

It’s the kind of result that can change momentum in a split second. Celtic would’ve been the talk of Europe today if they’d held on. What that could’ve done for confidence long-term? It’s hard to think about.

Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images

But what Ange Postecoglou and his Celtic team cannot do now? Dwell on it.

Trite as it may sound, there were positives last night. Ange Postecoglou made his team press the life out of top opposition on a grand European stage last night. The attacking play, despite limited chances, was excellent. Celtic were clinical when they had opportunities.

Focusing on the result itself is the absolute last thing Celtic need to do. And it’s based on evidence.

Bayer Leverkusen 3-2 Celtic | LIVE Reaction

Bayer Leverkusen 3-2 Celtic | LIVE Reaction
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

After the last Bayer Leverkusen defeat, a humbling result at Celtic Park, Postecoglou steeled the mentality of the team. You’ll make mistakes, he told his players, but it’s how you react that counts.

After that, Celtic embarked on a 9-game unbeaten run, with 8 victories. That included important, tricky away games. Hibs, Motherwell, Ferencvaros; all put to the sword. And in style, too [Sky Sports].

Letting last night’s disappointment derail what could be an otherwise brilliant campaign is the last, the absolute last thing this Celtic team can do.

Celtic and Ange Postecoglou still have so much to achieve this season; mentality is everything

One of the things Celtic have been good at thus far is reacting well to disappointment.

Losing to Midtjylland was gutting. So Celtic picked themselves up and got into the Europa League. A loss to Hearts was followed by thumping victories over Jablonec (twice), a 6-0 rollocking of Dundee and revenge on the Jambos in the Premier Sports Cup.

As mentioned, the prior loss to Bayer Leverkusen sparked a very impressive winning run. A run that could’ve, perhaps should’ve, extended to this weekend.

Photo by Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

That ability to come back from disappointments has been vital to the stretches of good form we’ve seen from Celtic this season. Ange Postecoglou has got to pick his side up from the floor after the nature of the loss last night.

But he’s the kind of the manager who can do that. If anything, last night should galvanise the team under his auspices. “Look at what you’re capable of”, he’ll be telling his players.

For Celtic, it’s key they don’t stop the pressing, the constant harrying of opposition. Nor the quick attacking movements, the willingness to win 50/50s and second balls.

Celtic absolutely do not need to change their approach after a game like last night’s. Results will come.

Read more: Supporters are loving the determined response from Kyogo after Celtic lose out in Europe