Ange Postecoglou insist Celtic can’t help but be better prepared for next week’s Champions League clash with Midtjylland following the 1-1 draw at Parkhead.
The new Hoops boss had raised concerns about his team’s fitness and the time it takes to bring new faces into the club ahead of the first leg against the Danish team, but they took a good start.
New signing Liel Abada, the 19-year-old Israeli winger, marked his competitive debut by scoring in just the 37th minute for defender Nir Bitton to be sent off at the end of the first half for receiving the second of two yellow cards for admonition with Anders Dreyer, who was also booked to dive into the box.
Dreyer was sent off 10 minutes after the start of the second half for another dive before Evander equalized for the Danish side with a free kick to prepare for next week’s return leg in Denmark.
After a first competitive game full of incidents as manager of Celtic, Postecoglou said: “I can’t ask the players anymore. We will definitely be better prepared in eight days.
“In fact, I don’t think we’ll ever be as unprepared as we were tonight for such an important game and it’s my turn to play.
“It does, I am the manager of the football club. I am the one who takes responsibility for supporting the players and the staff. If things don’t happen, it’s up to me to make them happen.
“I haven’t done a great job so far to be honest because with the disruption we’ve had, we haven’t been able to bring in the players.
“My role is to try to strengthen this team and to try to prepare this team for what lies ahead, and to their credit, the players did not look for excuses tonight.
“They made a solid change and I’m just disappointed they didn’t get the awards for what I thought was an outstanding performance.”
Asked about the expulsion of Bitton, for putting his finger on Dreyer’s face who went down too easily into the box, Postecoglou said: “I was frustrated with the result, like I said, not the performance. , but Nir had already been booked and when you have been booked you must be careful in your actions.
“When you break again, you give the referee an opportunity to give you another warning.
“It’s more disappointing for him than anything, because he really wanted to put on a good performance. He started the game really well for us, so it’s disappointing for him that he also misses the second game.”
The former Australian coach also declined to blame goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas for failing to stop Evander’s free kick.
He said: “I’m getting a lot of ‘half empty glass’ questions right now. I think there have been a lot of positives tonight rather than people looking for little things that potentially didn’t happen. well spent.
“I thought it was a decent strike, we limited them to a few shots on goal with a brand new back four.
“The midfielder worked really hard. The number of runs that (Ismaila) Soro, Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie did was incredible.
“There’s nothing that disappoints me tonight. I’m frustrated with the result because the players didn’t get the result, I thought they deserved it.”