Why Celtic fans ought not to take too much away from bizarre day in Japan

By Euan Davidson

June 9, 2021

“What, are you going to defend potential Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou immediately after a humbling defeat to a fourth-tier outfit?”

Well, kind of. Yes. Fine, today probably wasn’t the omen Celtic fans were hoping for. In surreal circumstances, an absolute classic of an Emperor’s Cup match between Yokohama F Marinos and Honda FC finished with penalties. Honda FC, whose goalkeeper scored from the spot-kick during the game, went through 5-3.

It’s uh… well, that’s not good, is it?

Given the sheer pressure of the Celtic job, and everything that comes with it, it’s a potentially worrying sign. After all, if Postecoglou is unable to navigate his team past a team in the fourth tier of Japanese football, how’s he going to handle games in Europe? With 60,000+ in attendance? It doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

Nor should it. It’s a competition that Marinos have won 7 times, after all. However, this isn’t a game that will sully Postecoglou’s reputation forever, or anything like it.

Would you like a caveat? According to the Daily Record, Honda FC are only in the tier they are because they want to be. The club, who are obviously owned by the Honda car manufacturing company, have not applied for a J-League license, and due to J-League laws, a league club cannot have an explicit corporate identity. So there you go. But that’s hardly consolation, is it?

An exciting seven days for Celtic fans is about to get underway

Freak results are a regular fixture in the Emperor’s Cup, Celtic supporters don’t need to worry

There were odd results across the competition. FC Tokyo lost to Juntendo University. Meanwhile, J-League leaders Kawasaki Frontale squeaked past AC Nagano Parceiro, a J3 League outfit. If you’re noticing a pattern here, you’re not alone.

With significant fixture build-up causing havoc, Yokohama F Marinos already have five games to make up in the J-League [Goal]. The kind of congestion is ultimately going to lead to odd results, and you could most certainly categorise the Honda debacle as one of those.

Yokohama F Marinos supporters adore Ange Postecoglou / (Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images)

So, in the end, Postecoglou rotated his squad, against a side who could be entirely professional if they wanted to, and it was a bold move that didn’t pay off. Essentially, Yokohama F Marinos played a B Team, and they’ll be far more concerned about the games in hand in the league than they will about this.

Yes, it’s shocking, yes it’s bizarre, but to Marinos fans, it won’t bother them for too long. Nor will it particularly perturb Ange Postecoglou at this moment in time.

Is it the result he would’ve wanted before potentially leaving to join Celtic? Absolutely not, but it’s not the end of the world, either.

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