Why we can't underrate tonight's Ange Postecoglou achievement at Celtic

By John McGinley

August 26, 2021

Ange Postecoglou took training for the first time at Celtic just over two months ago on June 24th. In that time he’s forged an attacking, exciting team, bounced back from a difficult start and now delivered tangible progress for his project.

The achievement of reaching the group stages of the Europa League shouldn’t be underrated just because it’s not the continent’s premier club competition. Reaching the Champions League groups this summer was always pie in the sky. And when AZ Alkmaar were pulled out of the hat for Celtic, not very many people gave us a chance.

Since then, Ange has put together a unit of a team that fight for the badge and each other at the very least. At their very best they are thrilling to watch going forward. But it’s great to know that even when things aren’t going well in a match, players can step up to get the job done.

Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images

We’ve knocked out one of the better teams in Eredivisie and we should feel good about it, despite the tension and nerves of tonight. Let’s not kid ourselves, Celtic were poor for a whole hour this evening. Apart from our goal, AZ were routinely ripping open our defence and putting serious pressure on Joe Hart.

But you know what? The players who were poor in the first half eventually stepped up. I’m talking Carl Starfelt, Stephen Welsh, Anthony Ralston and Adam Montgomery. All four made crucial contributions towards the end of the game despite a panicky start.

What I’m trying to get across here is that this team is actually a team. When Ange took charge of training for the first time in June, Celtic didn’t have a team. We had a collection of broken players, with the rest of them youths.

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The Odsonne Edouard gamble Celtic look set to take

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This will be looked back on a serious marker of progress under Ange. As it should be. It was a difficult night, but it’s job done. We now move on to Sunday with confidence, up against another massive measuring stick.

Progress, two months in. And this is just the start. Well done Ange. Well done Celtic.

In other news, Adam Montgomery steps up for Celtic at crucial moment.