Reacting to Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Livingston Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou does not believe in learning curves, reiterating the performance as a fault of his own preparation.
Andrew Shinnie’s second-half finish was the difference between the sides as Celtic’s winless run at Almondvale extended to over 14 years, leaving the Hoops in 6th place, four points off the top.
He said: “Yeah it’s not good enough. Unfortunately, we started the game very sterile. We didn’t take the game to them and wanted to ease ourselves into the game. Then they score and obviously we’re chasing the game [after that]. Yeah, the football was ok and we created some chances but our decisions in the front third were pretty poor and ultimately we paid the price for not applying ourselves as we should.
“It’s just a disappointing day for all of us and it’s my responsibility to make sure that, moving forward, we don’t allow these kinds of situations to happen again”.
Many were left surprised by the inclusion to the starting line-up of defender Boli Bolingoli. His first start since jetting off to Spain during lockdown, over 16 months ago. But Ange feels this was well earned after his performances in training.
He said: “Boli [Bolingoli] has been training well. I thought it was a good game to give him a start, obviously with Greg [Taylor] going down. Monty [Montgomery] played 90 minutes the other night and I think it was a bit much to ask for him to start. Liam Scales isn’t quite ready yet so we thought we would give him [Bolingoli] the opportunity.
After facing Real Betis in an end-to-end Europa League showdown on Thursday night, the Greek boss explained there should be no excuses after defeat to strugglers Livingston.
“If you start looking for those kinds of excuses then you fall into the trap. The problem was we didn’t start the game well and that’s my responsibility. Maybe the way I prepared the team or the way we prepared for this game wasn’t right. If we started the game as we normally do, by putting the opposition under pressure, then we wouldn’t have got ourselves in the hole we did. Once we got ourselves in that hole, we didn’t really have a great deal of solutions to get ourselves out of it. Credit to them [Livingston], they defended well and their keeper pulled off some good saves but we should never have been in that position.
“Our front three play was poor today, that was probably the poorest it’s been all year. You know we’ve obviously had some issues defensively but I just thought today in the front half we were just terrible. That was everybody, not just the strikers or the attacking players. We lacked a real conviction going forward and to be positive so again that falls on me to get it right”.
Away form has been the downfall of Celtic’s season, still winless in five games, Postecoglou thinks his side underestimated their opponents going into the match.
“It’s not the form, it’s the results. Our performances have been good. Today is just disappointing because you come here knowing it’s not going to be an easy game and you’re going to have to go beyond and try and play some football. We lacked that spark at the start of the game. I just think we fell into the trap, thinking this kind of game, the challenges that it has and our [style of] football would find the solution for that and that was never going to happen. We needed to earn that right.
“The other away games we played well. If we don’t get results away from home we can’t be successful and irrespective of what I think about performances we’ve still got to get results and that’s the reality of it until we tackle that in the right way”.
Celtic play host to Championship side Raith Rovers tomorrow night. With the chance to book their place at Hampden, Ange gave an update ahead of the tie:
He said: “I’m not big on learning curves I don’t think we learned anything today that we didn’t know before the game so my responsibility is making sure that the team is prepared well irrespective of the opponent, we’ve got a cup game on Thursday which is important for us so we’ll focus on that and make sure the teams prepared well.
“Cals [McGregor] not too far away and Giomakis will be available for Thursday”.