Ange's $24m baptism of fire as Celtic boss

2 months ago 16
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Twenty-five years aft helium archetypal coached South Melbourne successful the National Soccer League, Australian manager Ange Postecoglou led Scottish giants Celtic for the archetypal time. 

First games are usually meant to beryllium for a manager to easiness their mode in. This was a baptism of fire. 

Celtic were up against FC Midtjylland, a well-respected squad that has won 3 of the past 7 Danish championships, successful the archetypal limb of their 2nd circular UEFA Champions League qualifier. 

This match, and the consequent qualifiers, are truthful important for Celtic and Postecoglou due to the fact that should they spell connected to suffice for the Champions League radical stage, they volition automatically gain €15,250,000 ($A24.5 million) successful prize money. It would beryllium a captious currency boost for a nine that desperately needs to rebuild their squad. 

READ: STAN SPORT SECURES RIGHTS TO UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Celtic Manager Ange Postecoglou during a Champions League qualifier betwixt Celtic and FC Midtjylland astatine Celtic Park. (SNS Group via Getty Images)

For the archetypal clip successful 16 months, a constricted fig of fans were allowed into the club's celebrated stadium Celtic Park; 9,000 of them dispersed crossed the 60,000 seats gave Postecoglou a large ovation erstwhile helium came retired of the tunnel. These supporters are hopeless to judge successful thing aft past season's disaster, wherever they failed to triumph a trophy for the archetypal clip since 2010 and had to ticker their arch-rivals Rangers triumph the rubric without losing a azygous lucifer successful the league.

Postecoglou looked focused arsenic helium sat connected the sidelines moments earlier kick-off, lone for that attraction to beryllium momentarily breached by Midtjylland's Aussie winger Awer Mabil. Two Aussies connected the different broadside of the globe, astatine precise antithetic stages successful their careers but some determined to amusement the satellite what they're susceptible of. A lukewarm clasp was shared by the 2 earlier a fiery conflict got underway. 

The lucifer finished 1-1 and with the away-goal regularisation present gone, sets up a cleanable 2nd limb successful 8 days time. Celtic dominated the lucifer with 63 per cent possession and 16 shots to three, but couldn't person their chances and were fto down by idiosyncratic errors. 

"I don't deliberation we volition ever beryllium arsenic severely prepared arsenic we were contiguous going into specified an important crippled and that's connected me," Postecoglou admitted to BBC Scotland post-match.

"I haven't done a large occupation truthful acold due to the fact that with the disruptions we've had, we haven't been capable to bring the players in.

"The players didn't look for excuses. They enactment successful a coagulated displacement and I'm conscionable disappointed they didn't get the rewards for what I thought was an outstanding performance."

The Celtic coaching unit celebrates Liel Abada's extremity during a Champions League qualifier betwixt Celtic and FC Midtjylland astatine Celtic Park. (SNS Group via Getty Images)

It was an awesome show and showed aboriginal that Postecoglou volition person Celtic playing the aforesaid attacking, possession-based shot that saw him predominate the A-League with Brisbane Roar and triumph a title successful Japan with Yokohama F. Marinos. 

"Every squad I've coached has had a precise wide identity," Postecoglou said astatine his unveiling successful June. "I deliberation that was 1 of the reasons I was chosen. In my 25 years successful coaching, my teams person ever played a definite way."

Postecoglou opted for a 4-3-3 enactment and near Socceroos midfielder Tom Rogic connected the bench. The full-backs pushed high, the shot circulated quickly, Celtic looked to play connected the front-foot. 

The erstwhile Socceroos brag volition beryllium pleased with the show of his caller signing, 19-year-old Israeli guardant Liel Abada who successful 45 minutes scored Celtic's lone extremity and created 3 much chances. 

It was a magical debut chopped abbreviated by his more-experienced planetary teammate Nir Bitton, who was sent-off successful the 44th infinitesimal for needlessly picking up the 2nd of 2 yellowish cards for arguing with Midtjylland's Anders Dreyer aft the winger had gone down easy successful the box. 

Up 1-0 and with his centre-back fixed an aboriginal reddish card, Postecoglou opted to instrumentality disconnected Abada for 18-year-old centre-back Dane Murray. 

Celtic Manager Ange Postecoglou during a Champions League qualifier betwixt Celtic and FC Midtjylland astatine Celtic Park. (SNS Group via Getty Images)

Despite being a antheral down, Celtic attempted to support their pb successful the 2nd fractional and propulsion for a 2nd goal. They were fixed a lifeline successful the 56th infinitesimal erstwhile Dreyer was sent-off aft receiving a 2nd yellowish paper for diving, overmuch to the delight of the 9,000 fans. 

However, those fans were near frustrated 10 minutes aboriginal erstwhile Evander smashed a wide free-kick successful disconnected the station to marque the people 1-1. While the shot was struck perfectly by the Brazilian cardinal midfielder, determination were immense question marks implicit Celtic's Greek goalkeeper Vasilios Barkas. 

"Whatever mode you look astatine it, helium has killed the manager and killed the team," Celtic fable Chris Sutton told Premier Sports post-match

"It's not rocket science. (Former Celtic goalkeeper) Fraser Forster successful extremity saves that.

"This was a large crippled contiguous and Celtic didn't get the 2nd and 3rd their play deserved, but they should beryllium taking a pb implicit to Denmark and they are not doing that due to the fact that of the goalkeeper." 

Ange Postecoglou aft full-time. (Getty)

Despite introducing Rogic successful the 78th minute, Celtic were incapable to find the breakthrough. 

"We deserved the win," Postecoglou said.

"We played truly well, particularly successful the archetypal fractional wherever we controlled the game, scored a bully extremity and deed the post.

"We went down to 10 men for a important magnitude of clip and had to enactment hard. We created immoderate bully chances again and constricted them to 2 strikes the full game.

"It was a small spot of a missed accidental but astatine the aforesaid clip a fantastic effort by the players."

Local reporters raised questions post-match regarding the errors of idiosyncratic players. 

"Players don't fto maine down. It's disappointing for Bitton and helium is astir apt the astir disappointed retired of anyone, arsenic I cognize however overmuch helium wanted to contribute," Postecoglou said.

"The important happening for maine was the absorption from the players. I thought the 2 young centre-halves Dane (Murray) and (Stephen) Welsh, successful a Champions League fixture, were outstanding." 

Celtic's Nir Bitton is reddish carded pursuing an altercation with Anders Dreyer. (SNS Group via Getty Images)

Bitton took to Instagram aft the crippled to connection his apologies to the fans. 

"This is my level to talk and I conscionable privation to accidental sorry," helium posted. 

"I mislaid my caput for a 2nd and got punished for that… atrocious again."

Bitton volition miss the must-win 2nd limb adjacent week. Prior to that, Celtic volition play a affable against Premier League broadside West Ham this weekend. 

It took Postecoglou 2 seasons to get it close with Brisbane Roar and 2 seasons to benignant it retired successful Japan. The 55-year-old doesn't person that benignant of clip astatine Celtic but the aboriginal signs are promising.

Next week's instrumentality limb could beryllium pivotal successful making the Postecoglou epoch a success. 

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