Ange Postecoglou strangely downbeat as Celtic boss admits fears after Aberdeen win

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou is fearful of the effects of the international break on his squad even as he hopes it will be bolstered by injury returnees over the period.

Ange Postecoglou pats the Celtic badge in front of the away fans at full-time.  (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Ange Postecoglou pats the Celtic badge in front of the away fans at full-time. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

The Australian cut a strangely downbeat figure following the 2-1 win for his team at Pittodrie that ends his two-month wait for a victory away in the cinch Premiership. A success earned by an 84th minute winner from Jota - which followed a difficult second half in which Aberdeen’s Lewis Ferguson cancelled out an early opener from Kyogo Furuhashi - the 56-year-old praised the “character” of his team, but was apprehensive as to how it could be impacted by a raft of players trooping off to play with their countries.

Furuhashi and McGregor were sidelined by injuries sustained in the October international window and Postecoglou confessed he will be on tenter hooks until they and the other call-ups are back at the club. A time during which he is hopeful that he can bring a group of current injury casualties up to speed.

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“The last international break wasn’t great for me so I’m not sure how I feel about international breaks! Look, it is good having that positive feeling and the next two weeks give us the chance to get some players up and running who are out injured, and get some work into some others who need it. Fingers crossed they all get through the international window and we have a stronger squad to then sustain a bit of a run after everyone gets back.

“I have quite a few in Josip Juranovic, James Forrest, Mikey Johnston and Chris Jullien. Georgios Giakoumakis needs a bit of work, he hasn’t really had a pre-season. We have got some players we can get something out of when we come back from the break.

“It has been awfully difficult for the players because we have just been really thin. You saw just what it means getting Kyogo and Cal [McGregor] back and even giving Tommy Rogic a spell today to bring him on, so we are not just throwing him on there game after game.

“He was the one who unlocked the defence at the end so I am just hoping the international break is kind to us, not only with the guys who have gone away. Hopefully we can also get some work into the ones here and with a bit of a luck we can get some back and it will just give us a much stronger base.

“I am quite hopeful Josip will be back. It will be three weeks since the injury and he will be close. We hope Mikey Johnston isn’t too far away, I think it’s a couple of weeks training and he should be ready. He has been close a couple of times. James Forrest, I’m not sure about straight after the break. But hopefully not long after. Chris Jullien will start training with the group after the international break and that’s going to be his first step back, so once he is training with the group it is just a matter of getting his fitness up. Just to get 10 days into Giakoumakis as well will be priceless.”

Postecoglou accepted the club’s first win away in the league since February was priceless for how it was secured. “Everyone is well aware of our struggles away from home going into last year. I think the manner in which we did it today showed tremendous character to get ourselves back in front after they equalised. I think the players were searching for the winner, they weren’t going to settle for a point. I’m pleased for the players that they got their rewards.”

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