ANGE POSTECOGLOU will focus on Livingston in West Lothian in today’s noon kick-off before even thinking about locking horns with Carlo Ancelotti in the Bernabeu on Wednesday.
The Premiership match at 9,512-capacity Tony Macaroni Arena will take precedent before the meeting with the reigning European champions in one of the great meccas of world football which can comfortably hold 81,044 spectators.
As Postecoglou prepared his players to regain their four-point advantage at the top of the league, he insisted: “I’m not thinking about Madrid because I won’t disrespect any game I’m involved in.
“If people think I’m not excited or up for Livingston, they don’t know me. That’s what I love about football. Every game is an opportunity to achieve something, whether it’s at Livingston or in the Bernabeu.
“I don’t take any game of football for granted, I never have.
“At some point, it’ll all finish for me and I won’t have any ground to go to. That’s when you realise that every game is special.
“The Bernabeu will be a great occasion for the football club, but we want to go into it having won at the weekend, having played well – then we can challenge ourselves against the best in Europe.”
There are no crossed wires for Postecoglou as he acknowledges the dodgy plastic pitch at Livi has to be overcome before any thoughts of bringing down the curtain on Champions League Group F that sees the Hoops without a win after five attempts. An opening-day loss to Real Madrid in Glasgow and home-and-away losses to RB Leipzig put paid to hopes of progress among the elite.
Two draws against Shakhtar Donetsk – both 1-1 – left the side with two points from a possible 15 and that will not be good enough to even claim a place in the consolation tournament of the Europa League.
Celtic have 90 minutes to play in the most prestigious club competition of all and the 57-year-old Greek-Australian gaffer aims to make sure his team will not exit with a whimper.
Asked if a good performance in the Spanish capital would “put down a marker”, Postecoglou, speaking to The Scotsman, replied: “It depends, because some people just look at the scoreboard and that’s their only measure.
“I don’t know why half of them go to games. Because their only analysis around the whole game is ‘they won’, ‘they lost’ and that’s it.
“We know, internally, what’s important. If we play our football against one of the best club sides in the world away from home it will give us more belief and fuel to come back next year and put on stronger performances.”
For the moment, though, it’s full-throttle for the champions against David Martindale’s stubborn Livi side as the quest for Premiership points continues.
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