Ange Postecoglou’s men mave have exceeded expectations with their performance, but outsiders would still rank the Danes favourites to progress next Wednesday. Yet, in digesting an evening in which he was given a rousing reception by the 9,000 fans allowed inside Parkhead for his competitive opener, the Celtic manager gave short shrift to whether he had pondered what impact next Wednesday’s outcome could have on the size of his budget for the comprehensive squad rebuild required.
“I’m not an accountant, I’m a football manager. When people start talking to me about finances they miss the essence of what I’m about,” he said. “I’m not interested. I want to win games, I want to win trophies, I want to bring special nights to here. The finances are for other people. [The fans’ presence made a] massive [difference]. They saw enough to encourage them to get right behind this group of players. Age alone, look at the line-up we had. Having a crowd behind them makes an enormous difference and I hope they left with a little bit more optimism about where they are heading.
“It was a special night for me to walk out the tunnel as Celtic manager in a Champions League game, and the response was very special. I guess that's why I love the game. You talk about finances, the last thing on my mind when you get a response like that from people who love this football club. That's what motivates me.
“It’s half-time and I don’t think anyone has an advantage or a disadvantage. From our perspective, we’ve just got to go over there and perform as we did. We weren’t well prepared, we’ve had so many disruptions in pre-season for a number of reasons, and literally had one training session with this group. For them to put in the effort they did … there were quite a number who weren’t ready for 90 minutes, but they found something extra. There are another eight days between now and the next fixture, and we’ll be better prepared.”