24 May 2023

Ange Postecoglou admits his team changes have caused Celtic’s dip in form

24 May 2023

Ange Postecoglou insists he will carry the can for Celtic’s recent dip in form after Wednesday’s 4-2 defeat away to Hibernian made it three games without a win for the cinch Premiership champions.

The Hoops’ cause was not helped by the fact they had Daizen Maeda sent off while they led 2-1 at Easter Road, but the manager – who made six changes to his starting line-up – believes his tinkering is the main reason his side have lost their way since wrapping up the title earlier this month.

“We love to live in the moment and everyone is sort of making assessments on what is happening right now,” said Postecoglou. “That’s fine.

“Most of that is on me, to be honest. I am the one making five or six line-up changes every week. That’s hurting the side and there’s no doubt about that, but I’m doing it for a reason and that has affected our level of performance.

“Until the sending off, I thought we were in a good position. Aside from that, as I said, that’s my responsibility. I’ll take that. That’s the decisions I’ve made. In the last three weeks, they haven’t been to be benefit of the team.”

Celtic goalkeeper Scott Bain, who was handed a rare start, was badly at fault for Hibs’ last two goals, scored by Elie Youan and Paul Hanlon.

“It is disappointing for him and that is the life of a goalkeeper as he was having a good game up until that point,” said Postecoglou. “It is just one of those moments and I don’t know when the last time he played was.

“These guys are out there and in many respects it is not fair on them as I am putting these guys in and that would be okay if there were one or two changes but I’m making five or six changes a game and that is hard on the guys coming in, I totally get that.

“That’s just the way I do things as I like to throw guys out there and it is a sink or swim mentality, but we provide the support and give them the feedback to be better.

“It is unfortunate for him because it was looking like a good night for him.”

Forward Sead Haksabanovic went off injured in the first half and is now a doubt for the Scottish Cup final against Inverness.

“I’ll wait and see what the medical team say but with the cup final is 10 days away and it could be tough for him,” said Postecoglou.

Hibs boss Lee Johnson hailed his side for going “toe to toe” with the champions as they set up a final-day shootout for fourth-place with city rivals Hearts at Tynecastle on Saturday.

“It was a fantastic win and a big three points against a top team,” he said.

“The fans deserved that, it was nice to send them home happy.

“That wasn’t a smash-and-grab win. We went toe to toe with the champions.”

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