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Celtic vs Real Madrid, when is it, Ange Postecoglou, Old Firm derby, Scottish Premiership, preview, analysis, tactics, latest, updates


Over the course of 90 minutes, Celtic methodically carved Rangers open like a surgeon with a scalpel.

A sea of green and white shirts danced and wove their way through ten blue shirts that often resembled witches hats, as Rangers players simply could not keep up with a Celtic outfit firing on all cylinders.

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As The Athletic’s Kieran Devlin wrote, it was a victory that displayed all of the qualities we have come to expect from Ange Postecoglou’s troops: “aggressive pressing, fast progression of the ball up the pitch, clever movement in the final third, and a smidgen of arrogance when looking for that killer pass.”

A 4-0 scoreline ensured Celtic would retain the Old Firm bragging rights, at least until January when they meet again, and put the Hoops five points clear at the top of the table.

But it’s not just the result that sucked the life out of the blue half of Glasgow, it’s the excruciating manner in which it played out for Rangers fans.

Kenny Miller, who made over 200 appearances for Rangers, noted his former side was made to look “ordinary”.

“Celtic turned up against a Rangers team – who are a very good team by the way – and made them look ordinary,” Miller said.

“They were outstanding. There’s a real enjoyment about what they’re doing at the minute and that’s testament to the job the manager’s doing. That isn’t easy in this day and age.

“He’s united the players and the fans and it’s a great atmosphere.”

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Postecoglou must call upon the Celtic faithful once again to bring that famous atmosphere when the reigning kings of Europe stroll into town on Wednesday (AEST).

The Hoops begin their first Champions League group stage campaign in five years with a salivating matchup against Real Madrid at Celtic Park, as Postecoglou tests his managerial wit against Carlo Ancelotti.

The difference in quality on offer for both sides is almost night and day.

Celtic want to dish up Kyogo Furuhashi or Jota up front?

Madrid will see that and raise you a Karim Benzema or a Vinicius Jr.

It’s a stark reminder that for every thrashing Celtic can hand out to their Scottish Premiership peers, a bigger fish exists.

In Postecoglou’s first European foray as Celtic manager last season, the Hoops struggled as sobering defeats against the likes of Bayer Leverkusen and Bodo/Glimt served as timely reminders there was still plenty of work to be done.

However, it must be seen in the light of the former Socceroos boss getting to grips with his squad in his first season at the helm, and it was a squad that had been cobbled together before the campaign commenced.

Despite the mitigating factors working against him, it came as a surprise to no-one in Australian footballing circles that Postecoglou did not adopt defensive tactics against any of last season’s European opposition.

But now, with a full season under his belt with stronger depth and quality in the squad, Postecoglou and Celtic are primed for a better tilt in European competition.

Against Madrid, most teams will submit before the match has kicked off and park the bus in the slim hopes of springing a rapid counter attack and scoring.

Don’t for one second expect Postecoglou or any of his players to do that.

To sit back and cling on for dear life is to go against the very ethos of what Postecoglou preaches.

It’s why we should not expect anything different on Wednesday morning. Five words from Postecoglou made that clear: We don’t need to change.

“We don’t need to change our approach to measure ourselves against the best,” Postecoglou said.

“We’ll get really tested against Madrid but that’s what we want. You’ve got to respect the opposition. They’re a top team.

“But what we can control is what we bring. We’ll give our best, our way. That’s the key. This is who we are now as a team and won’t change. Is it a sign of how far we’ve come that we’re excited to take on Madrid? Potentially.

“But we just see it as an opportunity to measure up against the best. I’ve always felt the way to do that is by being yourself.

“We have to bring our own identity. People are pretty clear on what type of team we are. What a great opportunity to play our football. If we’re not successful, fair enough.

“But let’s go down swinging rather than deferring to someone because they’re a good team.

“Our supporters want us to take the game to Real Madrid and see where it takes us. Let’s have a crack anyway.”

If there was any thought it was only Postecoglou who was steadfast in his views of not wanting to roll over for Madrid, star midfielder David Turnbull’s answer proves his players share the exact same school of thought.

“I don’t think we’ll change,” Turnbull said.

“We’ll go in full of confidence and try to play our own game. Whether it works or it doesn’t, we will still play that way. Hopefully, it does work.

“We don’t want to sit back against any team. We want to go out there and play our football whether it is Real Madrid or whether it was Ross County last week. It’s about going into each game the same. The manager has drilled into us from day one the way he wants to play and that won’t change for anybody.”

There’s every chance Celtic get given a footballing lesson by Madrid and a betting man wouldn’t give the Hoops much hope against a team with a squad value of $AUD1.14 billion (per Transfermarkt).

But Los Blancos’ group stage defeat to Moldovan minnows Sheriff Tiraspol last year proved they are not invincible in the early matches.

Toss that into a blender with an unshakeable belief shared by Postecoglou and his squad, and you get the sense something special is brewing.

Either way, Celtic will not back down for one minute against Madrid.

And an Aussie will be at the centre of it all in front of 60,000 screaming fans at Celtic Park.



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