ANGE POSTECOGLOU insists Celtic’s four-goal beating from Bayer Leverkusen at Parkhead in September was not a true reflection on the flow of the game.
The Hoops were on the receiving end of a 4-0 landslide result and will get the opportunity to prove the gulf between the teams is not that great when they travel to Germany for the Europa League Group G match on Thursday night.
Postecoglou is adamant his side has been transformed and he will once again set up his eleven to attack the Bundesliga giants at the BayArena.
The Greek-Australian gaffer said: “We are more settled than last time. If I remember correctly, that was Kyogo’s first game back after being out for a month.
UP IN ARMS…Ange Postecoglou remains positive ahead of the trip to Leverkusen.
“It was Cal McGregor’s first for a while, too. So, we weren’t very settled, our form was up and down in that period.
“It has a different feel now, we have a better platform and we need that because it’s an enormous challenge.
“I know we lost 4-0, but anyone at the game would agree there wasn’t that much of a disparity between the two teams.
“People say it must have been a thumping – but the score doesn’t tell the story of the game. Yes, we conceded four, but we could have scored four ourselves and that gives us confidence that, even against the best teams, we can still create good chances and play our football.
“We paid a price on the night for making mistakes that maybe you’d get away with in domestic competitions, but against the best you don’t. It was a lesson.
GRIN AND BEAR IT…Ange Postecoglou shows his emotions at Hampden at the weekend.
“We got a lot of belief out of that game, but also sort of learnings on how to play against quality opposition.
“We made mistakes that cost us at both ends of the field in terms of missing chances and giving up chances.
“So, it’s a good part of our development to face a team like that. We have definitely improved since then and our general form has been a lot stronger in all competitions.
“From our perspective, we feel good about where we are at.”
Postecoglou, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “I feel we are in a good place to have a go at them. Can we take the game to them and come away with a result?
“It’s really important that we do that in games like this. Otherwise it’s all bravado without any substance.
“The reason we play as we do is because that is the kind of team we want to be.
BRING IT ON…Ange Postecoglou celebrates the 1-0 Premier Sports League Cup semi-final win over St Johnstone to set up a meeting with Hibs next month.
“We want to be that against everyone. If you shy away when the stakes are highest, and you are up against better quality, then players would lose belief in what I am telling them.
“If we fall short, we fall short. We get back up and go again.
“But changing our approach or trying to be more conservative goes against the grain of what I am trying to teach my players.”
Real Betis will host Ferencvaros at the same time as the Hoops meet up again with Jeremie Frimpong and Co and the Hungarians, beaten home and away by Celtic, could do Postecoglou’s men a massive favour with a good result to set up a second-place showdown with the La Liga outfit under the lights in Glasgow on December 9.
The Parkhead boss added: “We can’t worry about what happens in the other game.
“What we do know is that our last two results have given us a chance. It’s still in our hands.
“It’s going to be a challenge. Betis need a result to make sure of their qualification, so I’m sure they will be up for it, too.
“That’s the opportunity that is before us at Leverkusen. It’s a hell of an incentive to set up a game like that.
“It could be one of those memorable nights at Celtic Park that stays for the ages.
“That’s why we are here, to create those moments. To get that opportunity we need to get the job done on Thursday and that’s our first task.”