Why Celtic boss Postecoglou will be enjoying the build-up for tonight

By Euan Davidson

September 30, 2021

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou really couldn’t have been dealt a worse hand than he has been for tonight.

If he was playing poker, though, he’d still be all in.

The spiky, determined Celtic boss is lacking some key players. Callum McGregor might start but is unlikely to be 100%. Kyogo Furuhashi has trained, but the new talisman is still out. James Forrest, Giorgos Giakoumakis, Mikey Johnston, Josip Juranovic – the list goes on and on.

Not only that, our recent domestic form has been unimpressive. A draw with Dundee United, with two players coming off due to knocks, and a misfiring front-line? Hardly the ideal preparation for a Europa League thriller.

And, just for good measure, he’s facing a team on hot form, with some excellent players. While the former boss watches from the gantry.

All that, and still, there’s a nagging feeling that Postecoglou is actually enjoying all of this a great deal.

“This is a special Leverkusen team” | Derek Rae previews a huge night for Celtic

“This is a special Leverkusen team” | Derek Rae previews a huge night for Celtic
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Not that the Celtic manager is a masochist or a contrarian, of course. It’s just that he loves opportunities to prove people wrong.

Friend of the site, Vince Rugari, pointed to a time in 2019 when Ange Postecoglou was about to win the J League title with Yokohama F Marinos. According to Rugari, Postecoglou said:

“I don’t enjoy this bit. I enjoyed last year, when everyone was kind of doubting me and not really sure about where we’re heading.”

This is a chance for Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou to prove he thrives on adversity and suspicion

The whole Postecoglou story is laced with adversity and proving people wrong. Sky shared an excellent mini-documentary about the Celtic manager’s life that is still quite an emotional watch [Sky Sports/Twitter].

He was doubted in Australia, doubted as a youth coach, doubted as a national coach, and doubted constantly before he took Yokohama F Marinos to a J League title.

Admittedly, this is a very different kind of test for him. The Celtic boss is facing an uphill struggle to get anything from Bayer Leverkusen tonight.

Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images

But with a packed Paradise backing him, and the motivation of proving people wrong surely at the forefront of his mind, this is the kind of challenge the Greek-Aussie would’ve craved before he came to Glasgow.

Nobody would really blame him if Celtic didn’t win tonight. Losses in Europe, while frustrating, are forgivable depending on the opposition at hand. Meek losses and draws against Scottish teams we should be beating is a different story.

But those early-season frustrations only feed a narrative that Postecoglou is surely getting extra drive from. And he knows that if Celtic perform tonight, then there’s an upward trajectory that follows.

Again; there couldn’t be a great deal more working against the Bhoys manager tonight.

He’ll love that.

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