NO-NONSENSE Ange Postecoglou branded Celtic TERRIBLE as they lost their third consecutive away Premiership game with a 1-0 collapse against Livingston in West Lothian yesterday.
The lacklustre performance and defeat against a team picking up their first win of the season follows losses at Tynecastle on the first day of the league campaign and at Ibrox last month.
Postecoglou’s men are the first Hoops outfit to crash in a trio of away matches since 2000 when Kenny Dalglish was in interim charge following the sacking of rookie boss John Barnes.
Astoundingly, Celtic have not won any domestic fixture on their travels since February14 when they came back from a goal down to beat St Johnstone 2-1 in Perth thanks to a double salvo from Odsonne Edouard who is now, of course, a Crystal Palace player following his deadline-day departure.
X-RATED VIEWING…Ange Postecoglou watches Celtic tumble to defeat while John Kennedy sits it out.
Andrew Shinnie piled on the misery with a first-half strike when he capitalised on some dozy defending from Stephen Welsh before rifling a shot into the roof of the net beyond the helpless Joe Hart who later produced two excellent saves to prevent further embarrassment.
Postecoglou’s x-certificate sequence has seen his players nosedive to defeat in SIX of his SEVEN away encounters since he took over in June. It’s a perplexing, puzzling run and the honeymoon period is nearing the end – if it hasn’t already after this dreadful display.
Following the latest setback, the Greek-Australian gaffer said: “Our football was okay, we created some chances, but our decisions in the final third were really poor, probably the poorest they’ve been all year.
“We’ve had some issues defensively, but I thought in the front half we were terrible.
“That was everybody, not just the strikers or the attacking players. We lacked a real conviction in going forward to be positive. That falls on me to get it right.
“We started the game very sterile and didn’t really take the game to them.
NO HIDING PLACE…Ange Postecoglou can’t disguise his frustrations.
“We wanted to ease our way into the game and when they scored we were chasing the game. We paid the price for not applying ourselves as we should.
“I’m not big on learning curves. I don’t think we learned anything we didn’t know before the game.
“My responsibility – and it is my responsibility – lies in making sure the team is prepared well, irrespective of the opponent.”
Postecoglou continued: “It’s just a disappointing day for all of us and it’s my responsibility to make sure that moving forward we don’t allow these sort of situations to happen again.
“It’s not the away form, it’s the results. Our performances have been good.
“Does something have to change away from home? If we play like this, then yes. We were well in the other away games and played well.
“But, on the other hand, if we don’t get results away from home then we can’t be successful, so that’s still got to change.
“Irrespective of what I think about performances, we’ve still got to get the results and that’s the reality of it.
“Until we tackle that in the right way then we’re going to have this problem.”
TURNBULL TURMOIL…Celtic midfielder David Turnbull can’t believe he has just passed up a great goalscoring opportunity.
The Parkhead side have now lost twice and drawn three of their last five visits to Livi and their dreaded plastic playing surface. The horrible pitch didn’t do the Hoops any favours, but the manager, speaking to the Scottish Sun, added: “If you start looking for those kind of excuses you fall into a trap.
“The problem was we didn’t start the game well and that’s my responsibility – maybe in the way I prepared the team and maybe the way we prepared for this game wasn’t right.
“But if we started the game as we normally do and put the opposition under pressure we wouldn’t have got ourselves in the hole we did.
“Once we got ourselves in the hole we didn’t really have a great deal of solutions to get ourselves out of it.
“Credit to Livingston, they defended well and their keeper pulled off some good saves, but we shouldn’t have been in that position.
“You come here knowing it’s not going to be an easy game and you’re going to have to go beyond just trying to play some football.
“We lacked that spark at the start of the game. We fell into the trap of maybe thinking with this kind of game, with the challenges it has, our football would find a solution through that.
“That was never going to happen, we needed to earn the right.”