Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou is not a man who minces his words. He has not been shy in telling journalists what he thinks and has already hit out with remarks about his lack of care for finances over football as well as making it clear that the fact he has worked in Asia doesn’t impact his knowledge of Scottish opponents. Now the Greek-Australian has insisted he’s not some weak little flower that is going to wilt under pressure.
The Celtic gaffer was talking ahead of his team’s trip to Tynecastle tonight – a must win match following Wednesday night’s disappointing result. When analyzing the fallout from midweek, Postecoglou sarcastically told the Daily Record: “That’s okay, I’m glad people are taking care of my sensibilities and thinking I’m this fragile little petal that’s going to fall apart. I’ve grown up in the big, bad world of football and I understand it. People have every right to show that emotion.
“I’m passionate about the game and I love people being passionate about it because I know that passion goes both ways. People talk about the special atmosphere at Celtic Park and I’ve already felt it. If you want that, you can only get it if people care. You can’t have people care then expect them to react well if things don’t go well. I expect there to be blowback and criticism and people disappointed. You know what, as soon as we turn it around, we will be shown equally the same amount of support and love that the club needs and this group of players deserves. I’ve got no issue with that. Other people seem to be more affected by how that’s going to affect me. I had a very hard father who didn’t give me kisses and cuddles and told me he loved me. I had to earn these things along the way. I’m a totally different father, I give my kids kisses and cuddles every day.”
On a more direct footballing front, the manager was asked about the fitness of the players. He has already stated that the conditioning of the team isn’t where he would like it to be, whilst the Hoops had to play 120 minutes in Denmark just three days ago.
“It did take a lot out of them the other night. For some of them it was an enormous effort to play 120 minutes,” Postecoglou said. “But looking at them and talking to them, the players have certainly recovered and bounced back well,” he insisted.
“We are limited a little bit in terms of how much I can rotate. We do get Carl Starfelt who is available and, obviously, Nir Bitton who wasn’t available the other night which will help in a couple of positions at least. For the rest of it, we’re going to have to go with largely the same group of players.”
Each of Celtic’s last two new managers began life in the job (domestically) with a 2-1 win at Tynecastle. If Ange Postecoglou can replicate that result then he will be a happy man. It is certainly the least that Celtic supporters demand.