“The gap is so big that I don’t see how Celtic could close it to mount a genuine title challenge to (the)Rangers this season,” Charlie Nicholas opined in his weekly newspaper column this morning in The Express.
“Ange Postecoglou’s squad needs substantially strengthened and any players who do come in will need time to settle and adjust to the demands of the club. People will argue that Postecoglou is signing these guys and they will fit into the type of football he wants to play, but it can’t be assumed they will hit the ground running,” the former Celtic striker added.
“It will probably be September or October before we see what type of Celtic side this is going to be. It is only once we have had a good look at his recruitment and his team’s style of play that we can judge the manager, he added before turning his addition to the Champions League challenge that he reckons will end tomorrow night in central Jutland. However Nicholas reckons that the blame for that particular predicted calamity for his old club cannot be laid on the Australian manager.
“If Celtic crash out of the Champions League to Midtjylland tomorrow night it won’t be Postecoglou’s fault,” Nicholas argued. “It is probably 60-40 in favour of their opponents going through. Midtjylland won in the Danish
“Superliga at the weekend and a couple of their new signings will be bedded in by now.
“Postecoglou, by contrast, watched his side get hammered 6-2 by West Ham and has been left with no choice but to field kids and a suspect goalkeeper. I can’t see Celtic keeping a clean sheet in Denmark,” Nicholas continued and even turned a potential Celtic win into a negative for the Hoops.
“I take no pleasure in saying this, but if Celtic manage to go through to the next qualifying round then it would just be papering over the cracks. At the moment Postecoglou has the fans on his side, but if the Hoops are still struggling a month or two into the Premiership season then it’s inevitable the blame will turn to him.
“The outcome of the Old Firm (sic) derby at Ibrox on 29 August could either determine the scale of the problem at Parkhead, or how much improvement Postecoglou has been able to make.”
With ‘friends’ like Charlie…
Ange Postecoglou has already signed Liel Abada, Kyogo Furuhashi and Carl Starfelt but only the Israeli international has arrived in time to face the Danes. The new Celtic manager is already is looking at adding between four to six additional signings so it will be a very different Celtic side than the one riddled with internal problems last year. (the)Rangers obviously took full advantage of that situation – helped of course by a remarkable penalty kick records at both end of the park almost all season long and the failure of referees to get clear sending off decisions correct, some might say conveniently. But the biggest factor that will make this season very different to this season will be the return of the Celtic support to games.
To quote the late, great Tommy Gemmell: “What will remain consistent, though, is the Celtic support and with those guys behind you anything is possible.”
And unlike Charlie we will be behind Ange Postecoglou every step of the way…