Ange Postecoglou has refuted the suggestion that tiredness or fatigue played a part in his Celtic team losing to Rangers today.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s team played 120 minutes on Thursday night against Braga in the UEFA Europa League today, with many players who started that one featuring today.
Many expected Celtic to play with more zip and vigor in the Hampden clash as a result, especially as the match dragged into another extra-time period for our rivals.
However, it was the Ibrox side who found the late momentum and the winner in the second period of the 30-minute extras. The fact they appeared to have more left in the tank has worried some supporters.
In a post-match press conference, the manager was asked if he expected his side to have more energy than Rangers, to which he said [The Celtic Way]: “I wouldn’t make too much of that stuff. At the end of the day, it’s two teams giving everything right until the final minute. There’s so much at stake. It’s got nothing to do with tiredness.
“The 28, 29, or 30 players that came on today gave everything they could. It’s what you expect in this kind of game. We certainly don’t expect to be running over the opposition as that is not how it works.”
On Celtic’s lack of control, Postecoglou continued: “It’s human nature to feel the reaction, to take the consequences in terms of being knocked out of the competition, so that tends to mean the players are a little more conservative in all their actions in terms of the way we play our football, the way we press them, the things you have the freedom to do in a league game.
“Within that context, I didn’t feel it was a game where we were out of control. Maybe in extra time, after they scored we lost our way a little bit and we could have been a little bit more disciplined just to stick to our principles but I guess the players were feeling disappointed at falling behind.”
Supporters are going to feel frustrated with what they witnessed from Celtic today and in turn they’ll be searching for answers about why it went wrong.
Given Celtic weren’t their usual effervescent selves, it makes sense some would think it came down to energy levels, especially in a long match.
However, Postecoglou seems to think it’s far more complicated than that with the current mentality of players having a bigger role in any tentativeness.
If it truly does, then hopefully he can take the steps to allow the Bhoys to better impose themselves on a game even when the stakes are so high. We need to turn up with a more confident performance in these big Hampden games.
In other news, Ange Postecoglou reacts to a deeply disappointing day for Celtic.
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