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Ange Postecoglou in honest Celtic answer over Champions League financials as he admits 'I'm not an accountant mate'

Daily Record logoDaily Record 22/07/2021 Michael Gannon

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou isn’t interested in hearing about Champions League riches when he knows there’s some things money can’t buy.

Like the welcome he received at Celtic Park the other night and the feeling of leading the side out on the biggest stage.

The Aussie was left frustrated at letting Midtjylland off the hook in the qualifier but was encouraged by his side’s performance going into the return leg.

But he was blown away by the welcome he got from the 9,000 fans in the ground before the game and it’s only made him even more determined to succeed with Celtic.

Postecoglou was asked about the cash rewards for Champions League progress but he had other things on his mind.

He said: “I’m not an accountant mate, I’m a football manager. When people start talking to me about finances they miss the essence of what I’m about.

“I’m not interested. I want to win games, I want to win trophies, I want to bring special nights to here. The finances are for other people.

“The reception was brilliant. It was a special night for me. To walk out the tunnel as Celtic manager in a Champions League game, the response was very special.

“That will remain with me. I guess that’s why I love the game.

“You talk about finances, the last thing on my mind when you get a response like that from people who love this football club, that’s what motivates me.

It was far from a full house on Tuesday but Postecoglou believes the returning punters should feel optimistic after Celts bossed the bully boys from Denmark only to be undone by Nir Bitton’s daft red card and Vasilis Barkas struggling to deal with Evander’s free-kick.

The boss felt the crowd played their part in the 1-1 draw.

He said: “Massive. They saw enough to encourage them to get right behind this group of players. Age alone, look at

the line-up we had, inexperience and having a crowd behind them makes an enormous difference and I hope they left with a little bit more optimism about where they are heading.”

It’s early days for Postecoglou at Parkhead but punters are starting to see things taking shape. His team will run all day and the manager will also back his players to the hilt.

The 55-year-old would not have been blamed for criticising Bitton or Barkas with both undermining a productive night and placing Champions League progress in a precarious position.

a group of people playing a game of football © PA

Yet, Postecoglou refused to shove either in the direction of a double decker. He also refused to highlight the fact he’s not been able to recruit quickly enough to give Celts more than a fighting chance at this level.

Even the suggestion Tuesday’s side was patchwork – which was hardly a scathing insult – was met with a staunch defence.

Postecoglou said: “That is a bit disrespectful to be fair. There were internationals out there and some young kids who are doing everything for this club. The guys who are given the responsibility of wearing a pretty heavy shirt in a Champions League tie, they gave everything they possibly could.”

New Bhoy Liel Abada thrilled before he had to be sacrificed on the back of Bitton’s boo boo but it was Dane Murray who got rave reviews from his boss.

The 18-year-old was lobbed in at the deep end for a debut but more than looked the part alongside Stephen Welsh.

Postecoglou said: “He’s a young guy born in 2003. I can remember 2003 quite clearly!

“He’s not just coming on the pitch, he’s facing a formidable opponent and with 10 men.

“But you know what, my gut instinct told me he wouldn’t be fazed by it.

“I watched him in training and he’s a young kid, who has not just football potential but a personality and character that belies his age.

“I was quite happy to trust him out there and it was an important part of the game, we were down to 10 men and we had to work very hard.”

The hard work’s only started. Celtic need to get a result in Denmark next week but at least the away goal rule has been binned and the Barkas blunder won’t be even more costly.

Postecoglou doesn’t see Midtjylland as having the upper hand though.

He said: “No, it’s half-time in a game and I don’t think anyone has an advantage.

“From our perspective, we’ve just got to go over there and perform as we did at Parkhead.

“We weren’t well prepared for the first leg, we’ve had so many disruptions in pre-season for a number of reasons. We literally had one training session with this group of players.

“For them to put in the effort they did, there were quite a number who weren’t ready for 90 minutes, but they found something extra.

“There are another eight days between the first leg and the next fixture and we’ll be better prepared for the next game.”

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