Ange Postecoglou has suggested he may not have been forceful enough in his requests for new signings as he takes responsibility for Celtic’s latest Champions League failure.
Celtic missed the group stage for the fourth year in a row, with a 2-1 overtime loss to Midtjylland accusing them of a 3-2 loss on aggregate and a Europa League qualifier against the Czech side. from Jablonec.
Celtic have signed five times this summer but two of them are in quarantine and two more, Sheffield Wednesday youngster Osaze Urhoghide and Liam Shaw, have not left the bench in Denmark.
The only newcomer to feature was Liel Abada, 19, who couldn’t build on his debut as a goalscorer in a silent display.
I am the person who was put in charge. We don’t have any players, obviously I didn’t do a good enough job convincing the people we needed to bring in people.
Postecoglou had four defenders with an average age of 21, only had two fit forwards and replaced Vasilis Barkas with Scott Bain as Celtic’s failure to resolve their goalkeeper issues cost them again both legs.
Few Celtic fans will blame the manager, who has expressed frustration at the club’s “reluctance” in the transfer market ahead of the first leg, but the Australian has borne the burden.
“I take my responsibilities,” he said. “I’m the person who was put in charge. We don’t have any players, obviously I didn’t do a good enough job convincing the people that we needed to bring people in.
“I’m not going to turn away from it. I’m not saying this because I’m some kind of martyr, I just think it’s my responsibility, that’s why I was brought in.
“I tried to be as forceful as possible about what we need to bring, and the challenges we encountered are well recounted.
“Whatever the result tonight, we still need reinforcements. We had a very young team, young players on the bench. It’s not a situation we have to be in.”
When asked if some people didn’t understand how thin his team was and the urgency of the situation, Postecoglou said: “Maybe I wasn’t clear enough, I don’t know. not.
“I think I’ve been pretty consistent in saying that we need more players. The club are working hard to bring these players in. I have talked over and over again about the challenges we face.
“Our supporters just want to see us give the reinforcements we need, and I just need to keep strengthening my point of view as strongly as possible.”
Celtic will regret a number of key moments on both legs, including Nir Bitton’s unnecessary red card in the first leg and a huge error by Barkas who gave the Danes a Parkhead equalizer.
They were leading in Denmark thanks to Callum McGregor’s 25-yard volley three minutes into the second half and James Forrest missed a goalie one minute after replacing Abada.
The hosts equalized a minute later after Greg Taylor lost his marker and Celtic offered nothing in response after falling behind after four minutes of extra time.
“I cannot fault the efforts of the players, they have worked very hard,” said Postecoglou.
“We controlled the game, scored, had a good chance to go up 2-0 and immediately they scored and we lost some momentum. We just looked a little tired at the end and miss a little energy to go back in the game.
“The great times have cost us. Times change games and we have had great times.
“It’s frustrating, but when you look at the last four we put in there, the average age of these boys, it was a huge effort to keep us even.”
Analysis: Are we really that surprised?
Andy Walker from Sky Sports:
“It’s a blow, but I think you’ll find a lot of Celtic fans who won’t be surprised. The lack of preparation for the season-defining games has left the new manager sorely exposed.
“Postecoglou stressed last week that he was not happy with the lack of transfer activity, and I think when you go with so much inexperience in big games as Celtic did in Glasgow and here tonight it’s going to come back and hurt you.
“Midtjylland played a good game and had a stronger team – they had more legs and they had more energy. Celtic never played in overtime. In the end I think they deserved it and we could see a goal coming.
“Unfortunately for Celtic fans, they will have to make do with a qualifying match for the Europa League.”
Celtic advance to the Europa League third qualifying round, where they face FK Jablonec of the Czech Republic.
Meanwhile, they begin their Scottish Premiership campaign this Saturday when they visit Hearts, live on Sky Sports Football. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with a kick-off at 8 p.m.