“I’m disappointed we didn’t win, and I’m disappointed the players didn’t get their rewards, but it doesn’t deter my bullishness about where we’re heading,” Ange Postecoglou said after that frustrating 4-3 defeat against Real Betis in the Europa League Group stages opener.
“We’re just going to get stronger, there’s no doubt about that. Tonight, that’s our baseline against a very good opponent.
“We’ll get some players back who are going to help us absolutely, particularly to settle the team down a bit. We’ll be stronger. Hopefully over the next week to 10 days we’ll have three or four back.”
The Australian used just the one substitute in what was an hot evening on Seville and that was probably more to do with practicailites rather than tactics, a quick look at the riches on the Betis bench which outnumbered Celtic substitutes by around 2 to 1 tells you the story of where Ange is in his rebuilding plans for our football club.
When he mentions his baseline, he means the bare bones and with injured players returning and the second wave of new signings expected in January then as the games go by we’ll start to see these type of performances turn from frustration into joy. Celtic for that first half hour were magnificent and Betis didn’t have any answers. Had Jota made it 3-0 with that wonderful chance…
“I’ve got mixed emotions. I’m really proud of the team and the football we played,” Ange said after the Europa League match as reported by Daily Record. “The opposition are a very good team, we’re away from home and the football was good, but they obviously have some quality and there were periods of the game where they got momentum and some big goals.
“On the other side of that, we had other opportunities to go further ahead, so it’s disappointing that the players didn’t get the rewards for the efforts they showed.
“I was really proud of the football we played and the efforts the players put in. We showed some resilience to show that irrespective of circumstances, we will be a certain kind of football team.
“I think so. You come to these games to measure yourself. You can come here and shy away from the fight and try to get a 0-0 draw, and you don’t really know how far away you are from beating quality opposition.
“We wanted to take the game to a good team tonight, and I don’t think there was much between the sides.”
The Celtic manager went out of his way to point out that his side were up against a top side last night, a team with real quality. “Don’t discount the quality of the opposition. They got into our box, we tried to keep them out, but they were always a threat.
“Tony Ralston has been outstanding, but he’s missed a few games. It was Cameron’s second game, Carl has just come in this year. It’s Josip’s third or fourth game. It’s going to take time for us to get that understanding in a defensive sense.
“I see in them a desire to get better and improve and that’s the most important thing.”
Another new arrival, Jota was a stand-out at the other end of the park and was so unlucky not to convert that crucial chance to give Celtic a 3-0 lead. “It’s still a team that’s learning to play together. We’re throwing players in, but I thought Jota was outstanding tonight,” Ange admitted.
“He posed a threat all night. He worked really hard, he’s starting to understand our football. That’s why I believe that we’ll get stronger and the team will get better as well.
“He worked awfully hard tonight, he’s a young player, and he’s not the only one.”