Sadiku defends Celtic Huddle after Potter’s contemptuous criticism

Just over a week ago I attended the pre-match media conferences at Hampden ahead of the Women’s Scottish Cup semi-final. There in participated in the Celtic media conference with the Celtic FC Women manager Elena Sadiku and her captain Kelly Clark then those two went trackside to do some video interviews with Celtic TV.

Meanwhile theRangers media conference was about to take place, so out of curiosity I decided to sit in on that one too. I mentioned on here last week ahead of the game that the two from Celtic and theRangers captain all spoke well and were all respective of their opponents.

Not so Jo Potter, their sneering manager who could find nothing at all positive to say about Celtic or her counterpart across the city, Elena Sadiku. Indeed she reckoned that Sadiku had come in January, immediately tried to impose her own ideas on the Celtic team, lost her first two games – to theRangers in the Sky Sports Cup and then to Glasgow City in the SWPL1 – then merely reverted to the tactics and the formation used by Fran Alonso. Therefore she’d brought nothing of her own to the Celtic team that had already overturned a four points deficit to be at that stage two points ahead of Potter’s side in the race for the big prize, the SWPL1 title.

In the game itself on Saturday afternoon Celtic failed to turn up and as a result lost their grip on the Scottish Cup after winning the trophy over the post two seasons. Potter’s team scored two late goals and while they weren’t great either, they certainly deserved to win given Celtic’s poorest showing of the season.

So put yourself in Potter’s shoes for a moment. You have won the Glasgow Derby at Hampden to reach the cup final where you will play either Hearts of Spartans (Hearts won the other semi-final 3-0 the following day). You will fancy your chances on that one.

You already have the Sky Sports Cup in the trophy cabinet and are two points behind Celtic FC Women in the league (at that stage) but have a home match against them this coming Monday. You know that if your team repeat what happened at Hampden then you are on course for a Treble.

These are the thoughts that would be floating around in your mind as you go into the media conference…praise for your players, better team won, looking forward to cup final, result will give us confidence for the next Glasgow Derby in the league, win that and we’ll be favourites for the title, etc etc…

But instead Potter had a go at Celtic for doing a pre-match huddle then claimed that even at 0-0 in the closing stages of the game she was not concerned about it going to extra-time because she questioned the Celtic team’s fitness.

Now this all made us wonder if the rumours that theRangers managers are being coached in what they say about Celtic in the media could actually be true. In the men’ game Philippe Clement has gone from a seemingly competent and professional European coach to a figure of hilarity in recent weeks. We thought that the pressure had got to him but it could be more than that.

Yesterday in a rather dramatic media conference Elena Sadiku hit back about Jo Potter’s criticism of the Celtic Huddle at Hampden and also her sneering remark about fitness levels.

Sadiku has been totally professional since arriving, even earlier in the media conference yesterday she referred to theRangers as a great side, there has not been a word of disrespect for any opponent since the 30 year old Swedish coach arrived from Everton in January.

But yesterday she’s had enough…here’s what was said:

Q: The Rangers manager, Jo Potter, made it clear that she was unhappy with the length of time that the traditional pre-match huddle took between the Celtic players. Do you have any response to that and does it bother you going into Monday’s game or not?


Elena Sadiku: “I think what Jo Potter says needs to stand for herself. Like, we always do the same thing before games but I think she just wants to have something to say and be tough about it so, you know, I don’t care what she’s saying.

“If she says that that’s our mindset then, you know, she can just think about that because I couldn’t care less. I just think that if there’s something that she wants to say to feel like she’s better or whatever, let her say so, I don’t care.

“We always do the same thing, if you see the previous game, they (the Ghirls) always do the same thing so I don’t know where she got that from. If that’s something that she wants to focus on then let her focus on it, I don’t care, couldn’t care less.”

Q: Just taking you back to the thing with the huddle, Jo Potter said that she thinks it was deliberate to stall the game, that it was a mind game to delay kick-off. Was it just coincidental that the referee had blown his whistle and the huddle was still going on?

Elena Sadiku: “If you look at the previous games we played, look at the huddle. Look at how much time it takes, that’s what I’m saying. She wants to find excuses, she wants us to look bad, I have no idea. But if that’s what she wants to keep focus on, then keep focus on that because for me, I don’t know. Something that if that makes her happy to say, let her say it.”


Q: Potter also said after the game on Saturday that she would’ve been confident going into extra time because she felt (the)Rangers were a fitter team. Were you surprised by that?

Elena Sadiku: “Like I said, let her keep talking. The thing is like, as a journalist or something, you always want to catch up something they’ve said. I’ve heard it, let her talk. I’m not going to say something else about another team because it’s not my business and that’s just how I am.

“If she wants to give comments about other teams or say something like that, let her say it and you know, I can say that yes we didn’t look like we have been looking lately but if you look at the game when we won, I could also say we looked much fitter, but I didn’t, I want to praise something else, our performance, and that’s the most important for me. If she wants to say something else then it’s up to her. Let her stand for it.”


Q: Do you sense a belief in the squad that you’re capable of going on and winning this title?

Elena Sadiku:  “100%. We just need to focus on ourselves and that’s what we’re going to do. That’s what we showed yesterday [against Glasgow City].”

* The games in midweek saw Celtic FC Women draw 2-2 with Glasgow City and theRangers Women winning 3-0 against Hearts. The top two are now level on 72 points with Celtic FC Women top with a goal difference advantage of 13.

That means that in all likelihood a draw on Monday afternoon (noon kick-off) at Broadwood would probably be enough for Celtic going into the last three games, as it would mean theRangers would have to win their games and look for favours or overturn that goal difference deficit in their three remaining games. Possible but unlikely and remember Celtic will be winning (in the scenario) and scoring themselves so the task would be enormous for Jo Potter’s fitter side.

Monday very much has the feel of a title decider and Celtic supporters need to order tickets today, and they can be collected at Broadwood Stadium in Cumbernauld. Having done this myself previously it is a fairly straight forward process.


The Ghirls travel to Broadwood Stadium on Monday 6th May with the action getting underway at 12noon, and tickets are available to buy online only, priced: Adult: £3, Concession: £1 and Booking fees apply.


As the Hoops prepare to enter the final four games of the season, there is still so much at stake, with Elena Sadiku’s side fighting for the SWPL title. Currently sitting in top spot, the Celts will be aiming to maintain that position as they head to Broadwood for a massive match on Monday afternoon (kick-off at 12 noon).

Play your part and help make sure that there is a massive Celtic support there to cheer on the Ghirls by securing your tickets online TODAY as the Ghirls look to take a massive step towards a history making first ever SWPL1 title for Celtic Football Club.


Following this afternoon’s deadline for delivery, tickets must be purchased online before 5pm, Friday May 3, and will be available for collection at the venue. Celtic supporters can collect their tickets on the day of the game from 11am at the collection window to the left of the reception at Broadwood Stadium.

Show your support for the Celts as we head into the business end of the season, with tickets available to buy online.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds 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

Comments are closed.