ANGE POSTECOGLOU spoke of his disappointments in Europe as he emphasised the need for football in this elite arena after the turn of the year.

The Celtic manager’s first competitive game in charge was the 1-1 draw with FC Midtjylland at Parkhead on July 20.

That was followed by his initial away tie in the Champions League qualifiers which brought a 2-1 extra-time loss in Denmark eight days later.

Since then, Postecoglou has taken his men into seven Euro ties, winning four and losing three. It’s been a massive learning curve for the Greek-Australian and his revamped squad.


SEVILLE SETBACK…Ange Postecoglou watches on as Celtic blow a two-goal lead against Real Betis in September.

As he prepares for tonight’s Europa League Group G match against Ferencvaros in Budapest, the Hoops gaffer said: “Every game we have had away from home has been a unique challenge.

“We have been competitive in all of them. We did lose in Midtjylland, but it was 1-1 after 90 minutes. We lost in AZ Alkmaar, but we actually won the tie on aggregate. We lost in Betis, but gave a top team a helluva game and lost 4-3.

“So, every game is an opportunity for us to develop and grow. We’re facing a good team in Ferencvaros and it’s a real big challenge in a game we know we need to win to keep our chances alive of progressing.

“I’m disappointed we didn’t make the Champions League, I’ll be disappointed if we don’t get through the Europa League, I’ll be disappointed if we haven’t got European football in the New Year because those are the kind of opportunities you want to develop and grow.

“For us, that’s the main goal and aim.”

IN THE SPOTLIGHT…Ange Postecoglou at full-time in the 4-3 loss against Real Betis.

Postecoglou is still working on the problem of who will team up alongside Cameron Carter-Vickers in central defence with hamstring victim Carl Starfelt now sidelined until after the international break.

Nir Bitton shuffled into the middle of the rearguard when the Swede limped off in the 0-0 draw with Livingston at the weekend, but Stephen Welsh could get the nod on this occasion.

The Parkhead chief, speaking to the Glasgow Times, added: “Chris Jullien is not ready yet, so we’ll look at an opportunity with Welshy or Nir Bitton.

“We have a couple of options we can use for the game and I’ll be comfortable with whatever way I go because both are ready.

“Welshy has been a bit unlucky not to get a bit more game time, so that opportunity might come.

“He’s already had many games and big European games and I’m sure he’ll be looking for an opportunity and looking forward to it.”

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Ferencvaros v Celtic this evening – only in your champion CQN.


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