Ange Postecoglou will drink in Celtic and Rangers clash as Parkhead boss warns Aaron Ramsey ‘it’s not an easy league’

Ange Postecoglou had a pretty quiet transfer deadline day but the Celtic boss wasn’t quite sitting with his feet up in front of the telly with a cuppa.

Even if he was, the Aussie insists he wouldn’t have been spitting up his tea when the ticker tape news broke that rivals Rangers had made a major move in the final hours of the window – and just 48 hours before the sides were set to square up.

The arrival of Aaron Ramsey caused a Scottish football shockwave, as it’s not very often top-class operators who have graced the English Premier League and Serie A turn up on our doorstep.

But Postecoglou didn’t flicker.

Ramsey might have a big name and be on big money – but it doesn’t mean much in the red-hot environment of an Old Firm
title race.

The Celtic gaffer reckons reputations have to be earned in the Premiership and doesn’t need to look far for an example of the flipside of a guy turned up as an unknown before becoming a smash hit.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 31: Aaron Ramsey is pictured at Ibrox Stadium after sealing a loan move to Rangers from Juventus, on January 31, 2022, in Glasgow, Scotland.  (Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group)
Aaron Ramsey is pictured at Ibrox Stadium after sealing a loan move to Rangers from Juventus, on January 31, 2022

Postecoglou said: “I don’t really get affected by what others do.

“I’ve said before that my focus is on what happens here and you shouldn’t start worrying about what other clubs could do or players they are bringing in.

“Ultimately all these things come down to performances.

“No one had heard of Kyogo but you can’t tell me he hasn’t had an impact.

“It doesn’t come down to the pre-signing impact that they have, it comes down to performance.

“That’s where my focus is. When opposition brings in new players it’s looking at where they perform and trying to counteract that.

“Are there no guarantees? Absolutely. And it’s not an easy league to do it. It has been proven before. But my perspective is on us.”

Ange Postecoglou takes Celtic training ahead of the Rangers game

Postecoglou didn’t have an early night but it was fairly stress-free on deadline day – unlike the summer window when Cameron Carter-Vickers was sneaked in just as Cinderella’s ride was turning in to a pumpkin.

The Hoops boss was happy with his month’s work though, with five new arrivals already bedded in to his squad by the time the clock struck midnight.

Postecoglou said: “It wasn’t relaxed because we were still working on Adam Montgomery going out. It’s a great deal for him to go to Aberdeen, a great environment, a good football club, a good coach.

“It was important for me that we got him out, so we still had some work to do and there were a couple of others we were hoping to do that didn’t quite materialize.

“It wasn’t quite as hectic as my last deadline day but we still had stuff to do.

“It was important to get the business done early, especially in this window. It’s a real tricky one because the season is already going and you don’t really have a lot of time to bring new people in.

“I was really pleased that the players we brought in, we got in nice and early.

“They were already part of the squad, they are already part of the environment here and, in January it has worked really well.”

The shopping is done and it’s time to see if it was good business. Some summer signings like Jota are eagerly awaiting a derby debut.

Many Old Firm managers treat this encounter like actors talk about McBeth. It’s the fixture that they daren’t mention, they keep the head down and try to pass it off as just another three points.

Postecolgou isn’t going to pull the wool. He knows the magnitude of this clash and rather than downplay it, he prefers to embrace it.

And he expects his players to do the same. Postecoglou said: “There is hype – but it’s not a surprise.

“Anyone who even has a passing knowledge of football, if you asked them the biggest derbies in the world, no one would leave this one out.

“I try to take it in. I’m a bit older now so I don’t want to miss any of these occasions. I’ll look forward to it and enjoy the contest and the drama.

“Obviously you want to be successful in it.

“I’m experienced enough to know you don’t want to let these kind of experiences pass you by. It’s something I’ll say to the players. As manager you want your team to take in every moment of the atmosphere and the build up.

“Experience it to the fullest, because one day it won’t be there and the last thing you want to do is not live it to the fullest.

“Enjoy it more when you win? Well, I haven’t enjoyed it any time I’ve lost mate, put it that way!”

Postecoglou could have half a team who have never sampled the fixture though. Which could work either way.

Celtic haven’t managed to get one over their ancient foes for more than two years and it could mean they are either unburdened by history – or rabbits caught in headlights.

Postecoglou said: “It depends. They might not have experienced it but they will come out of it much better.

“You have to go through that experience first of playing in a big game like this, particularly at home.

“You need to know the novelty of the fixture and the club you are representing.

“I’m sure all the guys are excited by it and even the ones who have played in this before, none of that excitement dissipates.

“For us, it’s a special occasion. Last year the supporters couldn’t get to the game and they couldn’t go earlier in the year. I know there will be a great atmosphere.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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