Celtic manager Postecoglou spurns chance to train on Bodo/Glimt's artificial pitch

Coach says his side just need to concentrate on their game plan as they look to overturn 3-1 Europa Conference League deficit in second leg

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou turned down the chance to train on Bodo/Glimt's artificial pitch before their Europa Conference League clash on Thursday. Reuters
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Ange Postecoglou passed up the chance for Celtic to train on Bodo/Glimt's artificial pitch ahead of their Europa Conference League clash on Thursday.

The Hoops were beaten 3-1 by the Norwegian champions in the first leg of their knockout round clash at Parkhead last week.

Celtic will try to turn the tie around at the Aspmyra Stadion, which is inside the Arctic Circle and holds around 5,500 fans, but Postecoglou will forego the opportunity for a training session there beforehand.

"Here in Scotland we obviously have exposure to artificial pitches, we have already had two games this year on an artificial pitch so there is not a great deal to be gained," said the former Australia boss, who has no injury worries from the 3-2 win over Dundee on Sunday, although Yosuke Ideguchi is ineligible.

"Every week has a different challenge. If you are expecting that after one session you are going to find some miracle on an artificial pitch that you haven't thought about, that is going to win you the game, then you fall into the wrong trap.

"I have been involved in football for a long time, especially at national team level but even in Australia, where you have to deal with extreme climatic conditions, extreme pitch conditions.

"When I was with the national team we were travelling from cold climates to the Middle East in literally 24 hours, bumpy pitches to slow pitches, and what I found in the end is that the best approach is to make sure that your players are always prepared to deal with whatever challenges there are.

"There [are] no easy solutions. Us flying there today and having a session on their pitch is going to make absolutely zero difference.

"Us being here, getting a good training session with the boys, getting them prepared for a difficult game tomorrow, is much more important to me."

Postecoglou, whose side lead Rangers by three points at the top of the cinch Premiership, will not change approach for the return game in Norway and believes being more clinical in front of goal is key.

He said: "The whole reason I am trying to build a way of playing for my football club and my beliefs is that we don't have to change our approach.

"What we know is we need goals and that is what we do every week so it would be a bigger challenge for us if we had to change our approach and become more expansive and more aggressive.

"But I don't think anyone could accuse us of not being that on a weekly basis so from that perspective it doesn't really change anything for us.

"We will go out there and do what we try to do every week when we play, that is be aggressive, dominate the game, create chances and score goals and so our approach will be exactly the same.

"As I said after the [Bodo/Glimt] game, we weren't as clinical or efficient with the chances we had and they were. Obviously, if that changes, we are in better shape.

"We don't have to be more solid defensively. If they had 20 chances and Joe Hart made 15 saves and they hit the crossbar then we would be saying we have some issues defensively.

"I look at the performance and the way we play. They were a lot more clinical with their fewer attempts on goal than we were so we need to improve that, but it is not something that has been ongoing so it is not an issue."

Updated: February 23, 2022, 4:20 PM
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