Celtic appointment of Antoine Ortega leads to "no clue" admission from Ange Posteocglou as he calls out one 'x' measure with classic one liner

There have been some among Celtic’s astute analytics blogeratti keen to claim Ange Postecoglou as one of their own.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou says the recruitment of date analyst Antoine Ortega and under-18s coach Stuart McLaren, pictured, is the club preparing for success in the long-term. (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group).

It might pain them to learn the 56-year-old is far from that – which has underpinned the decision to recruit French data analyst Antoine Ortega, who previously worked with Benfica. Just how much spreadsheet, number-crunching assessment of players is a closed book to the Australian was revealed in his response to my suggestion it can be somewhat opaque to pinpoint precisely how the duties of such personnel shakedown.

‘I’ve got no idea either, mate, that’s why I’ve brought Antoine in! The analytics thing is well beyond me,” he said. “Like you, I went through my schooling with a pen and paper. That’s where the future of a lot of scouting and player identification is going. These young guys are much better skilled at – and schooled in – getting the right information, then filtering it and putting it in a form that you and I can understand. It’s a massive growth area in football and we’re always looking for bright people who can come in and help us in those areas.’

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To those of us around Postecoglou’s vintage, shivers can run down the spine at the very mention of ‘XG’: the jargon for expected goals. Other Xs are available in this world – an inordinate number of other Xs - but it is a particular use of this letter with which Postecoglou has a serious issue. “The one that gets me is XL because that’s all my clothes,” he said with a chuckle.

“There is a lot going on, stuff that doesn’t affect us in the short term so much, but is still important to what we want to build. All that runs concurrently, while the main focus and priority is the game ahead of us, building a team to have success this year. We had to take our time, find the right people, create an environment that gives us success for many years to come, not just in the short term. We’ll continue to make appointments and bring in people we think will help that. Antoine is one, we’ve also brought in Stuart McLaren as 18s coach, someone I know really well. All these decisions hopefully create a really good foundation for us moving forward.”

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