Abada, Jota and Hatate Fitness Boost – Ange Postecoglou’s Injury Update

Ange Postecoglou in an exclusive interview with Celtic TV earlier today gave his thoughts on the post split fixtures that were announced this morning, provided what sounds like a highly positive injury update ahead of the Scottish Cup semi-final against theRangers at Hampden on Sunday and talked about the special bond that has formed between the Celtic support and this group of players which the Celtic manager reckons will play an important role in the outcome of the Glasgow Derby.

22nd October 2022. Greg Taylor scores the wiining goal during the cinch Premiership match at Tynecastle. Photo Neil Hanna / Sportimage

On the news that Celtic have been handed two away fixtures in the next two league matches, the Celtic manager, whose side needs just one win to secure the title, talked firstly about the achievement in getting into this pleasing position and also on the frustration that the vast majority of the Celtic support will not get chance to see the team play for three weeks. On needing just one more win to retain the title Ange said:

“It’s pleasing to be in this position, it’s the position you want to be in, winning the title is in your hands and it’s a credit to the players and the staff and a testimony to their consistency and performance and obviously results so we find ourselves with five games to go needing just a win,” Ange said.

Celtic Manager Ange Postecoglou at Tynecastle. Photo Neil Hanna / Sportimage

“So really pleased with that but again we haven’t done the job yet and there’s no reason to dismiss any of these games moving forward. We want to make sure that we finish the season strongly,” he added.

On today’s fixture news Ange had this to say: “It’s always a bit of a challenge I guess for those doing it. I would liked to have had at least one home game in those first two because it means that again our supporters won’t see us for three weeks.

“So it would have been nice but ultimately it is what it is. We’ve just got to deal with what is before us and in the league that is Hearts away, who have a new manager in Steven (Naithsmith) and they had a great result last week. It is always a challenge at Tynecastle anyway and it would be a good place to win it because we’re going to have to earn it to do it.”

Liel Abada is fit and will train all week ahead of Sunday

Asked what kind of game he’s expecting on Sunday against theRangers at Hampden in the Scottish Cup semi-final, Ange replied: “A cup-semi-final. It’s going to be a really good game with everything on it with both teams knowing that the consequences of not being successful on the day. So it will have everything that you would normally accept from a cup semi-final and it’s one that we are looking forward to.

“Like I said, at this time of the year they are all big games and they are games you want to be involved in rather than sitting at home watching them, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Jota is fit and will train all week ahead of Sunday. Photo Steve Welsh

Asked about turning Saturday’s result against Motherwell into motivation for Sunday, Ange wasn’t accepting that at all. “No we don’t need motivation for Sunday. Motivation is always there, in every game that we play we want to try to be the team that we aspire to be and every game gives you that opportunity so there is no greater motivation.

“We were disappointed with the game on the weekend, both in performance and obviously the result, but there’s a learning moment there for us. We have been pretty good at learning along the way while winning games of football which isn’t easy.

 Reo Hatate is fit and will train all week ahead of Sunday. Photo Colin Poultney PSI

“It’s easy to just let thing roll along so when you get an opportunity like the weekend when we obviously didn’t do things the way we wanted to, there’s a chance for us to improve on that, within the context of understanding that the group has been outstanding for a very long time.”

And Ange provided what sounds like a very positive injury update relating to Liel Abada, Jota and Reo Hatate, while confirming that everyone who played against Motherwell came through that match fine and the only player likely to be missing on Sunday in longer term injury concern James Forrest.

“We’ll see how they go. Abada, Jota and Reo are the main three but they are due to train all week so it will just come down to how they do during the training week. If they get through the training week they will be available. Everyone got through the weekend okay, it’s only James Forrest who won’t be available come the semi-final,” Ange revealed.

On Hampden and the great Atmosphere that will be created with the 50/50 ticket split, the manager knows that the Celtic support will give the team their complete backing on Sunday. And on the importance of the Celtic support since he joined the club, Ange had this to say:

“I think that it is very important. You can see that there is a unity between the fans and the team itself. The fans you expect always to back the team and they do especially our supporters and I think that there’s a real affinity with this group of players.

“They have seen this group of players grow over the last two years and I think that the support has appreciated that they have taken on some enormous challenges in that time and given them some special moments.

“So it’s really gone hand-in-hand , the support we’ve had and the way the players have responded to it and it will be important on the weekend as well,” the Celtic manager believes.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk


  1. No word on the pitch as most footballers they want it fast but at hampden just want it playable its a disgrace the league Cup final was played in a joke of a pitch now we have a semi day before on this pitch be lucky to get 20,000 of a crowd the atmosphere will be terrible you will here the dug outs which is not for children’s ears why is there no money spent on pitch

  2. If these three are fit and pitch is playable celtic will run riot only reason motherwell scored was a long punt fullback mistake and a great finish if the opposition has no big target man celtic are very hard to play through teams aim for corners and try get there speedy players to turn celtic defensive unit but it take a great pass for that and a good playing surface what chance of that happing at hampden pitch with a game on it 24hrs before SFA has to be brought to its knees bunch of old has beens