“I always felt the criticism should have gone to the board,” Nicholas

Charlie Nicholas has surveyed Celtic’s Champions League camapiagn to date and reckons we’ve earned more plaudits than points, which while the former is well deserved the latter is clearly frustrating for Ange Postecoglou, his players and the Celtic support.

However Nicholas turns his wrath not on the players who have missed so many chances in the four matches played so far in Group F, or on the manager who picked the teams and set-out the tactics but instead his criticism is reserved for the Celtic board who Charlie believes could and should have shown more faith in the manager by increasing his transfer budget in the summer.

Photo Steve Welsh

While that’s not a position that you’re likely to hear Ange Postecoglou argue himself, he’s always said he’d work with and be happy with whatever budget that is available. He may also put forward a case to the board when reviewing his first crack at the Champions League – and this is pure speculation – that an enhanced budget going forward should be considered if Celtic are to have realistic expectations to become a Champions League side capable of going beyond the Group stages.

“Celtic’s Champions League campaign this season may have produced more plaudits than points but it’s time the powers-that-be give their manager a fighting chance to really compete,” Charlie states in his weekly newspaper column in Daily Express.

“Ange Postecoglou can’t turn his team into Champions League conquerors overnight and I’ve a bit of understanding and support for him after he had been fighting critics in recent weeks.

“It’s the same criticism the likes of Gordon Strachan, Neil Lennon and even Brendan Rodgers faced when it came to Euro competition and I always felt the criticism should have gone to the board. The questions were – ‘Where are you trying to get to? What is the ambition?’ – because Lennon and Rodgers were winning easy titles.

“For the most part they weren’t playing against anybody. They were receiving gifts. My anger and frustration was always the same.When are you going to get ambitious? That is why I have full support for Ange because he has the determination to turn Celtic into a consistent Champions League team.

(Photo by Ronny Hartmann / AFP) 

“The bottom line is the Aussie boss has been buying players to win the Scottish Premiership. The real big signings were forced upon him, the likes of Jota and Cameron Carter-Vickers and his big budget was spent on those two players, as Brendan Rodgers did with signing Odsonne Edouard.

“I would say RB Leipzig are a better team than Celtic but with such an ambitious manager in Ange I want to know what the next level is he can get to. Of course, with only one point from the four games Celtic can’t qualify but they have certainly given Real Madrid, Leipzig and Shakhtar a game so far.”

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who 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

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