Celtic’s Ange Postecoglou factors in special ‘synergy’ in assessing Rangers scoring quirk
The Australian doesn’t underestimate the impact of the club’s supporters being all aboard with their team. The absence of away fans means there will be a full 60,000 shouting themselves hoarse to egg on his players in their latest locking-of-horns with Rangers. That creates a “synergy” he believes can be a potent force. “It’s sometimes just the nature of the games,” Postecoglou said of Celtic’s propensity for first-half derby goals on their own patch. “We have been really strong at home for a couple of years now and the players really enjoy playing in front of our supporters. They really feed off their energy. The supporters also love to get behind the team. There’s a great synergy between the players and the fans. That helps, it creates a great energy before the game starts and that helps us, because we want to play at a high tempo anyway. It just adds to our game.”
To the outsider, the latest tussle between Scotland’s two would seem more meaningful to Rangers than Celtic, a consequence of Michael Beale’s men trailing by nine-point in the cinch Premiership. It is a gap that has led the Englishman to concede the title is their rivals to throw away. Short of an away win in the east end of Glasgow on Saturday afternoon, even the merest sliver of doubt over the destination of the championship will evaporate. But Postecoglou maintains that backdrop has no meaningful ramifications for his side’s motivation since this can never deviate.
“I don’t know what it means to anyone else, only what it means to us,” said the 57-year-old. “We go out to win every game. You embrace that when you come into this club. We’ve only lost once this season – which I am constantly reminded of – so I completely understand what the expectations are here. It means every bit as much to us. We want to have a mindset that we are a team that wants to win every game. That’s the kind of football we want to play, irrespective of the opponent or whether we are at home or away. We play to win and play our football.”
While the Celtic manager says it would be “great” if there were a significant number of away supporters for Scottish football’s worldwide marketing tool of a fixture, he believes ‘nothing’ about the spectacle without them will be diluted for those turning up or tuning in. A ninth sampling of the outing in only 21 months, he doesn’t consider the two tribes going to footballing war would be made all the more special if the two clubs didn’t mean so often.
“Do I still get the same kick from it? Absolutely. I know what it means to our supporters,” he said. “In terms of us involved on the football side, it’s a big game. There will be a huge atmosphere and a global audience. That doesn’t diminish just because you’ve done it a number of times. The excitement is there every single time. We are looking forward to it. I don’t get worked up about the amount of times we play. It’s a game with so many factors to it. We know what it means to both clubs, in terms of the table this year and the audience it grabs. It doesn’t diminish just because we’ve played X number of times.”
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