“There’s obviously been a couple of issues with the pitch this year,” John Kennedy

Ange Postecoglou last weekend mentioned that the pitch at Celtic Park was ‘not in great shape’ at the moment and as we were on Celtic fan media duties today ahead of tomorrow’s Scottish Cup Fifth round tie against St Mirren at Paradise, we thought we’d ask the manager about the standard of the hybrid pitch, which cost Celtic around £2m back in the summer of 2017 on the recommendation of the former manager Brendan Rodgers, who at the time compared the surface we were getting to Arsenal’s pitch.

The promises don’t appear to have been delivered and it’s an ongoing issue. We reported on this on The Celtic Star just before Christmas 2020, see below.

READ THIS…“Surface looks abysmal,” Brendan Rodgers and Celtic’s £2m Hybrid Pitch Shambles

The early break this season for the World Cup in Qatar may have had an impact across the grounds in Scotland – or at least the ones still using grass – as more matches that usual we played back end of December and throughout January this year but the inescapable conclusion is still there that the money spent on this new surface hasn’t really lived up to expectations.

Ange wasn’t doing media duties today, amusingly much to the angst of some of the hacks who had their Leeds United questions at the ready – John Kennedy dealt with them brilliantly saying that Ange is tied to a chair upstairs with two security guards protecting the door.

Our two questions were unaffected by John Kennedy doing the media duties this week to give Ange a break. Earlier in the week the Assistant manager also gave an interview to Celtic TV, so there’s no point in reading too much into Ange getting someone else on his coaching staff to do the media duties once in a while and it’s certainly nothing new that the Assistant manager gets a chance on Scottish Cup weekends.

So we asked John Kennedy about the current condition of the pitch installed pre-season in 2017 and the problems we’ve had with it given the money spent on the upgrade. Celtic’s Assistant Manager gave this detailed response.

“There’s obviously been a couple of issues with the pitch this year and without going into detail on it as I’m not a groundsman or an expert in that field but the pitch in general, in the main is pretty good,” John Kennedy told The Celtic Star.

“It was obviously installed and we paid a lot of money for it a number of years ago, which made big improvements. There have been a couple of little patches here or there where maybe the weather has not been so good or there’s been a bit of disease or issues on the pitch but ultimately we just have to work on that and get it the best we possibly can.

“We don’t want to make too many excuses about it. We’d love every pitch to be absolutely perfect but again the climate we live in and the conditions we live in isn’t perfect for that,” John Kennedy said.

“So we just have to get our heads around whatever we face, even at St Johnstone at the weekend, yes, the pitch wasn’t great but we don’t use that as an excuse for the players. So we end up focused on what we can affect and that’s the way that we play. Yes, it might impact on one or two touches or passes but forget about it, move on and get on with what is in front of you.

“Again, it’s not something that we want to get dragged into too much. We’d love the standards of everything to be improved but we have just got to deal with what is in front of us.”

Watch John Kennedy’s Media Conference ahead of the Scottish Cup match at Celtic Park tomorrow afternoon (kick-off 5.30pm) against St Mirren…

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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