ANGE POSTECOGLOU will send his players into a Viaplay League Cup Final at Hampden on Sunday with an emotional battle cry.
The Celtic boss will emphasise the importance of being out on the pitch to participate in such an event and not to “waste a day” in their playing career.
Postecoglou swept aside talk of trebles and adding to his silverware haul to concentrate completely on the actual encounter between the two Glasgow teams as he said: “I treat every game as an opportunity, I say that to the players.
THE THINKER…Ange Postecoglou ponders on a question at today’s media conference.
“Age and experience gives you wisdom, I know what it’s like when your playing career ends, you miss it all.
“You miss training, you miss the bad days, the bad coaches, you’d have it all back. You don’t just miss the big games or the big moments, you miss it all.
“That’s what I try and tell the players every day. Don’t waste a day, because one day it will all end and you don’t want to look back and ask if you made the most of it.
“When I talk to them about trying to make every game the best game of their career, there is nothing that says that can’t happen.
“Don’t just use it as a game where you get the win and get it out of the way because you could be missing a little nugget of gold that will make it all worth it when it’s all gone.”
Viewing the importance of success, Postecoglou, speaking at a media conference, continued: “I enjoy all of it. The only bits that people assume you love the best are when you win things.
HEAD-SCRATCHER…Ange Postecoglou mulls over an answer.
“But winning things are very rare even for the most successful coaches even if you win something every year.
“You’ve got to hang your hat on something other than that. I enjoy the hard graft when you’re building a team, you’re in the trenches and it’s coming at you from all angles. I enjoy that bit.
“From when I started 26 years ago, I wanted to be a successful manager and you won’t last very long in the game if you’re not successful.
“Every time there’s an opportunity to win something, I’ve tried to make sure the team I’m in charge of has been prepared well to do that.”
The 57-year-old Greek-Australian gaffer reckons the 50/50 split between the fans at a sold-out national stadium will add to the occasion.
Asked if the evenly-matched bands of supporters will make for a better atmosphere, Postecoglou answered: “I think it does, yeah. It’s a different atmosphere, it’s a real derby atmosphere.
“Obviously, when we play at Ibrox or Celtic Park, the atmosphere is very parochial in one way.
QUESTION TIME…Ange Postecoglou spells out the importance of playing to his Celtic squad.
“For the home team I think that’s an advantage. We feel that when we play at Celtic Park, having 60,000 fans helps us.
“But in terms of a spectacle and a derby, having it split, particularly in a Cup Final, adds to the theatre of it.
“I think the players enjoy that because you get a bit of everything in there.”
This weekend will see the third Glasgow derby of the campaign with the Hoops winning one and drawing the other to pick up four points from six as they zero in on a second successive Premiership title with a current nine-point advantage with 12 games to play.
However, the championship will go on the back-burner at Hampden. The Celtic players will be hoping to replicate the cutting edge form that decimated their Ibrox opponents – then managed by Giovanni van Bronckhorst – with the champions three goals ahead by the interval with a double salvo from Liel Abada and a solo effort from Filipe Jota at Parkhead in September.
David Turnbull claimed the fourth in the second-half. At Ibrox on January 2, the visitors had to rely on a late leveller from Kyogo Furuhashi after Daizen Maeda has scored an early opener. Moments of slackness shortly after the turnaround allowed the hosts to get back into the contest.
Hopefully, there will be no action replay of any Hoops player switching off as they defend their League Cup.