ANGE POSTECOGLOU made no attempt to dodge the flak after watching Celtic draw 1-1 with FC Midtjylland in the Champions League second round first leg at Parkhead last night.

Following three pre-season outings – Sheffield Wednesday (3-1), Charlton (2-1) and Preston (0-1) – the new manager made his competitive debut against the Danes.

The former Australia international boss saw £3.5million new Bhoy Liel Abada open the scoring, Nir Bitton needlessly get himself red-carded before the interval and Vasilis Barkas conjure up another woeful error to add to his catastrophic Hoops career since he arrived in a £4.5million deal from AEK Athens last summer.

But Postecoglou refused to point the finger at his blundering double-act and said: “I can’t ask any more of the players. We will be better prepared, no doubt, in eight days’ time

FACEING UP TO IT…Ange Postecoglou takes responsibility.

“In fact, I do not think we will ever be as badly prepared as we were going into such an important game and that’s on me.

“It is, I am the manager of the football club. I’m the one who takes that responsibility of providing support for the players and staff. If things aren’t happening, it’s on me to make them happen.

“I have not done a great job so far, to be honest, because with the disruptions we have had, we have not been able to bring the players in.

“My role is to try and reinforce this squad and to try to prepare this squad for what is ahead and, to their credit, the players didn’t look for excuses.

“They put in a solid shift and I am just disappointed they didn’t get the rewards for what I thought was an outstanding performance.”

POINT OF NO RETURN…Nir Bitton senselessly pushes his finger into the face of Anders Dreyer to earn a red card.

Asked about Bitton’s nonsensical sending-off, for putting his finger in the face of Anders Dreyer after the Dane had gone down too easily in the box, Postecoglou, speaking to Sky Sports News, answered: “I was frustrated at the result, as I said, not the performance, but Nir had already been booked and when you have been booked you have to be careful in your actions.

“When you infringe again, you give the opportunity to the referee to give you another caution.

“It’s disappointing for him more than anything, because he was really keen to put in a strong performance. He had started the game really well for us, so it’s disappointing for him that he misses the second game, as well.”

Barkas also escaped the wrath of Postecoglou who added: “I thought it was a decent strike, we limited them to a couple of shots on goal with a really brand-new back four.

“The midfield worked their socks off. The amount of running that Ismaila Soro, Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie did was unbelievable.

“There’s nothing I’m disappointed in. I’m frustrated at the result because the players didn’t get the result, I thought they deserved.”


About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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