ANGE POSTECOGLOU admits he feels the responsibility to give Celtic fans the Champions League team they deserve.
The Hoops were shredded by European champions Real Madrid in a sharp reminder they have a long way to go before they can feel comfortable in this arena.
Carlo Ancelotti’s conquering all-stars picked off their opponents in four second-half minutes when Vinicius Junior and Luka Modric scored and they brought down the curtain with a mesmerising THIRTY-THREE passing movement that left the home players mesmerised before Eden Hazard rolled No.3 behind the blameless Joe Hart in the 77th minute.
A LOT TO THINK ABOUT…Ange Postecoglou reflects on the three-goal loss.
It could have been a different story, of course, if skipper Callum McGregor’s 20th-minute left-foot howitzer had flown into the net instead of thudding against the inside of stranded Thibaut Courtois’ the right-hand post and ricocheting to safety.
Liel Abada and substitute Daizen Maeda both fluffed their lines when presented with glorious opportunities and the encounter still goalless.
If nothing else, the Celtic players were delivered a brutal reminder of the fine margins between success and nowhere at the highest level.
The wonderful support remained in place after the final whistle to applaud the eforts and endeavours of their team and it’s clear the manager has every intention of repaying the club’s loyal followers with a team that can go into this arena and compete against football’s A-listers.
Asked if he took pride from such a heartwarming and spontaneous reception at the conclusion of a three-goal defeat on home soil, Postecoglou replied: “No, I just feel the responsibility of bringing this football club to this level. That’s what these fans deserve.
TAKE IT ON THE CHIN…Ange Postecoglou makes pledge to Celtic fans.
“There is no starker reminder of that than the reception they gave us after the game.
“They deserve to see their football club competing with the likes of Real Madrid on a regular basis. And really competing.
“I feel that responsibility and I want to get us up to this level so that this club and these fans get what they deserve. I just think it is a measure of what our ambitions are.
“I make no secret of the fact that I want us to be a Champions League club competing at this level on a regular basis against the best.
“Just because it is our first foray into it for a few years, I want us to make up that ground as quickly as possible. It is not about being optimistic or pessimistic about it, it is about being determined to bridge that gap.
“I feel that responsibility. I want us to be a Champions League football club.
“For that to happen, we have got to come out next week in a game that again is going to be tough, with fine margins, and be clinical in those kinds of areas.”
GRIM AND BEAR IT…a glum-looking Ange Postecoglou after Champions League lesson.
The 57-year-old Greek-Australian gaffer, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “I thought the first goal was always going to be important.
“Up until that point, I thought we were well in the game and, if anything, had the better chances. But we needed to capitalise on them and we didn’t. They have the quality to take control of the game when we tried to press on.
“They were able to exploit the space we left. But you learn at this level that you’ll get punished if you don’t take your chances.
“For us as a team, you don’t need a reminder that it’s fine margins when you’re playing against the best and, when you have opportunities, you need to take them.
“That was evident. If we scored first and put pressure on them, then they would have needed to open up and really asked them some questions. We could then have taken control of the game and we had those chances.
“It’s different if you don’t have the chances and you don’t create anything or the opposition have got you pinned back. Then there is stuff you can learn.
“But I think what we learned we already knew. We’ve just got to be really clinical in both boxes.”
BRAVE FACE…Ange Postecoglou will be prepared for next week’s Euro clash in Warsaw.
Postecoglou added: “We understand the responsibility you have when you represent this football club.
“All of us want to compete at the highest level. And we want success. There is no other way to feel but disappointed.
“It was not through a lack of effort, commitment or belief. The boys gave everything they could.
“But, if you want to bridge the gap, you have to be disappointed with a night like this and make sure you come back stronger next time.”
The Hoops step back onto the Euro tightrope a week today when they travel to face Shakhtar Donetsk in Warsaw.
Former Celt Marian Shved was the star of the show with two goals in the Ukrainians’ remarkable 4-1 victory over RB Leipszig in Germany.
It has to be hoped Postecoglou’s men will take last night’s lessons to heart before the 5.45pm kick-off in the Polish capital.