“It has been a disaster,” Charlie Nicholas’ remarkable verdict on Ange Postecoglou’s first month at Celtic

It’s Tuesday so that means Charlie Nicholas has had his column published in Daily Express and as always for a guy who played for Arsenal and Aberdeen as well as Celtic, he only ever wants to talk about the Hoops. It has to be said that Nicholas has been more positive lately and he’s also provided some transfer tips for the new Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou to consider.

Today though it’s back to a bit of Celtic bashing from a player who could have been a legend at our club and probably wasted more god given talent than just about anyone who has worn the Hoops over the past 40 years. For the younger readers, a young Charlie Nicholas playing for the Hoops looked like being up there with the likes of Kenny Dalglish who came before him and Henrik Larsson who was to follow. There must be regrets there for Charlie to deal with.

Ange Postecoglou is being asked to get Celtic through the Champions League qualifiers with half a team,” Champagne Charlie began. “I’m not convinced they will beat Midtjylland in tonight’s first leg in Glasgow. But with the away goals rule having been scrapped, a draw wouldn’t be a bad outcome for the Hoops as they’d still have another week to get things bedded in before the trip to Denmark.

“Postecoglou should be applauded if he can get any sort of positive result,” Nicholas noted. “Midtjylland have spent a bit of money and ought to be favourites to progress to the third qualifying round.

“There were a lot of delays before Postecoglou was appointed and he has been locked into something he and his team aren’t prepared for. I like his talk but does he have the tools to play the way he wants? As things stand, he does not.

“He has probably got half a team at best. Compared to last term, it’s like a reserve side with two or three first-team players thrown in. Look at the team’s defensive set-up. I am not convinced they have a No.1.There has been talk of Fraser Forster, above, coming back to Celtic on loan but I can’t see that happening.

Ange Postecoglou shakes hands with Callum McGregor Photo: Andrew Milligan

“Who will play left-back against Midtjylland and who is going to be the central defenders? A deal for Swedish stopper Carl Starfelt looks promising but Postecoglou won’t have him in time for the game.

“In attack, James Forrest is unavailable (incorrect actually), though Albian Ajeti may have played his way back into contention and Leigh Griffiths is in the squad. There is also uncertainty over Odsonne Edouard, Ryan Christie and Kris Ajer, who looks set to join Brentford,” (Ajer is not involved tonight) Nicholas added.

“The biggest concern for me is the lack of options Postecoglou has – a combination of injuries, players wanting out and a lack of quality in certain areas.

“The Edouard situation is a worry for me. Brighton would have been waiting for the money to come in for Ben White’s transfer to Arsenal before they made their move. I am not convinced Edouard will be fully focused on Celtic anyway. Olivier Ntcham has come back and said he wants to give things another go. Do I believe him? No.”(Ntcham is not involved this evening either, so it looks like Charlie is on the money with this assertion. “The manager has to take him at face value, although perhaps it’s telling that the French midfielder wasn’t registered in their pool of players for the Midtjylland clash.

“Postcoglou has also had the Griffiths issue to contend with and if you look at how things have gone for the new manager since his appointment last month, it has been a disaster. He has had very little help. The club has made a couple of signings but who decided on them? I would suspect Kyogo Furushashi would be the manager’s signing given his knowledge of Japanese football, but I am not convinced he was involved in the move for Sheffield Wednesday defender Osaze Urhoghide.

“I’m not sure he would have known much about Liam Shaw or Liel Abada either. So who is making these calls on the players?” Charlie sat there, asking himself…

With friends like Charlie, Celtic don’t really need enemies do we?

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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