Ange Postecoglou reckons today’s game against Kilmarnock will differ from last weekend’s meeting between the sides because today is a semi-final and that will bring its own dynamic to the proceedings. Speaking at yesterday’s Media Conference the lucky Celtic manager explained why the two games aren’t the same.
“It is different because of that. It is not a league game and you kind of know that cup games, particularly with semi-finals that there is a little bit of tension there and an edge to those games.
“Last year we played St Johnstone in the semi-final and it was a tight affair and we had to work hard to get the victory. I’m sure tomorrow is going to be the same. It is just the nature and context which is different from last week. I don’t think either team is going to change their approach too much in a week’s time. It is a semi-final and knowing what’s at stake I am sure it will be a different kind of game,” Ange believes.
With so many of the Kilmarnock players playing at Hampden today for the first time, could that have an impact on the way the game goes by swinging the advantage towards Celtic? Not really according to Ange Postecoglou, who delivered his first use of the ‘mate’ word in this response.
“If you are talking about the Hampden experience we don’t have a lot to be fair, mate. I think guys like Matt O’Riley and Reo Hatate and others will be experiencing their first or second trip to Hampden.
“Again I think it is as relevant as understanding that it is a cup semi-final and whether you have or don’t have experience the nature of a semi-final means there is always going to be a bit of an edge and nervousness even for the most senior of campaigners.
“They know what’s at stake. Losing a semi-final is not just exiting a cup competition as you are one step away from a final which is a big occasion. Maybe having no experience is better because you have less fear and you haven’t felt that pain. Guys who have felt the pain and we certainly did in the Scottish Cup last year as you know what that feels like and you do not want to feel that again.”
One thing that does not change is the manner in which Celtic prepare for every match that they play. There is a consistency there and that is reflected in our trajectory over the last 12 to 14 months,” the Celtic manager explained.
“We have been consistent in terms of performance because we go into every game with a similar mindset. No game is of greater importance than any other but I think when we get to the ground tomorrow the players will get that feeling that it is not just another league game and it is not just another game for three points but there is more to this and that’s when you notice the difference.
On his Hampden experiences so far Ange said: “It is good when you win. It is not great when you don’t. I enjoyed it last year. We had three games at Hampden and you enjoy the ones you win, you don’t enjoy the ones you don’t win.
“The actual experience of playing at a place like Hampden again you know it is a special game and you don’t play there unless it is a game of significance. You get both sets of supporters in and that adds to the colour of it and the atmosphere, I believe.
“I am looking forward to it and it is a venue that you want to make four trips to every year as that means you are doing well.”
Watch Ange Postecoglou’s Media Conference below…