Ange Postecoglou on the Celtic sloppiness he can’t forgive as he blasts stars for ’45 minute shift’

Ange Postecoglou let rip at his sloppy Celts for slipping in to the comfort zone as they cruised past Raith Rovers to keep the quadruple dream alive.

The Hoops sparked to life in the second half to eventually see off the Championship side 4-0 to set up a Scottish Cup quarter final semi.

But Postecoglou insisted his much changed side were miles off the levels he demands – and he let them know it.

He said: “The way we set up and play our football, I forgive everything from mistakes, people making bad decisions.

“But I just won’t cop people just putting in a 45 minute shift. That’s not what it’s about.

“That’s when my frustration comes out. I just feel every time you put the shirt on there’s a price to pay for it.

“That price is you give everything you have for the time you are out there, within the context of how we play.

“They are not hamstrung. They get plenty of freedom out there, and we played some outstanding stuff in the second half.

Giorgos Giakoumakis

“But you are not going to do that if you are looking for a comfortable afternoon.

“There were too many doing that in the first half.

“My sense is it was a collective thing. Maybe it was the way I prepared them for the game.

“Maybe it’s just the fact we’re on such good run and people keep talking about momentum.

“Things are going so well, psychologically people think things are just going to happen – but they won’t.

“The subs came on and made and impact – but that’s their job.

“The last half an hour was just as important as the first 60 minutes but that’s the frustrating bit.

“The second half was much more like ourselves and that’s why I don’t accept the first 45.

“Our football is based around some pretty clear and strong fundamentals, part of which is working your backside off for the team all the time and playing within the structure we create.

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“To do that you need to be disciplined, you’ve got to be at it all the time.

“It’s not like we struggled in that first half, we were comfortable but that’s not the place I want us to be.

“I don’t want to be comfortable. I want us to be uncomfortable in terms of pushing the envelope as to how good we can be.”

Celtic were ordered to shut the standing section for the Raith clash after the Old Firm fireworks show.

But Postecoglou refused to blame the flat atmosphere for the low key start.

He said: “It might be a factor but if you start making those kind of allowances for the players then it means they’ll only play when the atmosphere is super.

“That’s not the case. Some of it was making seven changes and it was never going to be as fluent as we have been.

“We needed that game time though.

“But within that we lacked the urgency we have had recently and I don’t want that to become part of what we do.

“I got frustrated because I shouldn’t have to remind anybody about these things. We’ve been building the foundation for so long and you’ve got to work hard and buy into the kind of football we want to play.

“Even within that context, I just thought we got through a comfortable 45 minutes. Our aggression, our running and our tempo improved after the break, we scored four goals and we didn’t concede any and we’re in the next round so it was still positive.”

Postecoglou was happy to progress as he looks to add the Scottish Cup to the Premier Sports Cup while fighting it out for the Premiership and in the Europa Conference League.

The boss was delighted to get Christopher Jullien back on the pitch after almost 14 months out – but Mikey Johnston’s injury jinx struck again as the wide man limped off.

Postecoglou said: “Jullien’s worked hard in training and, like every footballer, he wants to play so we gave him some game time and I’m sure that will encourage him to keep working hard and take his opportunity when it comes.

“Mike Johnston took a knock on his ankle. I’m not really sure how he is – the last time I said it wasn’t serious it turned out that it was.”

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