Why Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou won’t question Covid-19 protocols

The absence of Jim Goodwin at Celtic Park on Saturday afternoon following the St Mirren’s manager positive Covid-19 test didn’t serve as a prompt that the virus hasn’t gone away to Ange Postecolgou, the manager he would have been confronting.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou elbow bumps with Odsonne Edouard at the end of Friday's training session at their Lennoxtown base - one of the practices initiated to limit close contact during the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

By a quirk, Goodwin had been one of those calling for the Scottish football authorities to loosen the restrictions in place to safeguard the sport from outbreaks. For his part, the Celtic manager does not believe it is his place to question guidelines agreed with health professionals.

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“[Jim’s case] is not a reminder [about Covid-19] because that’s our existence at the moment,” the Australian said. “I know things are beginning to get back to semi-normal out there, but within the confines of our walls at Lennoxtown we’re still following all the protocols, there’s still mask wearing and social distancing. We’re protecting ourselves because it’s still part of society. It still has an impact in society and in sport. We very much live with it as an organisation. I hope Jim won’t have any symptoms and he gets back on the coaching bench quickly.

"I stick to my remit on things like this. There are other people who are much, much better qualified, who have put years of education and knowledge into making these kind of calls. If a medical professional came into the building and told me how to pick my first XI, I would pretty much tell him where to go. And he’s got every right to tell me where to go when it comes to protocols.”

Celtic notably struggled to integrate new signings last season amid pandemic lockdowns the pandemic. The impacts made by summer arrivals Kyogo Furuhashi, Liel Abada and Carl Starfelt has Postecoglou acknowledging sufficient normality has existed to assist his rebuild. “In Japan, we had 11 foreigners we brought in last year,” said the former Yokahama F. Marinos manager. “They couldn’t bring their families across and they were living on their own. It was tough for them. So I’m sure it had an impact, most definitely. It’s been helpful this year that the new guys coming in are all a bit more relaxed in terms of being able to get out and not being cooped up after training. But it’s also a credit to the players we have brought in.”

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