Ange Accepted Responsibility Last Night, But Assured Us Celtic Will Be Better For It.

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There are a lot of managers in the business who think they are the dogs nuts.

One of them sits in the dugout across the city, and he really is only kidding himself on with some of what comes out of his mouth.

One of the great pleasures of next season will be watching him come apart because he shows signs of it every week now and he’s not really under pressure yet.

But Ange keeps on getting the communication part of it dead on right, and he does this by not thinking he’s the lord of all creation. I grow more impressed with him as time goes by.

By now we think we’ve seen it all, but still this man surprises us.

Last night, in the aftermath of what was easily the team’s worst performance in domestic football since he took over, he was cool and calm except when he was asked a typically ridiculous question by a BBC hack determined to turn a modest drama into a crisis.

I’ll cover that later, because it’s an important story in and of itself … but let’s take his less controversial comments first, because they were actually far more interesting and instructive.

Ange did that rarest thing last night; he not only copped the flak for what had gone wrong, but he did something I’ve rarely seen.

He explained why the decisions he makes in the here and now, and which he said caused that defeat, will pay off for us in the future. And you know what? I actually do believe him on that front.

“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,” he said.

And he then went on to explain his thinking.

“In the last three weeks, they haven’t been to be benefit of the team. 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.”

So this really is about toughening people up. It’s about trial by fire.

These guys are being tested, and they are being tested under a harsh and unforgiving spotlight.

Except that none of us matter.

The people who do matter are those inside the club, those whose job it is to show these guys the clips and the stats and talk to them on the training pitch and tell them “You need to be doing this a lot better, you need to be doing that a little differently.”

So Ange knows these guys are going to make mistakes.

He’s picked this point in the season to throw them in there because right now these mistakes don’t matter a damn. So the lessons that everyone involved learns can be had without great cost.

This isn’t particularly radical stuff, but it’s another example of what a great communicator he is that he’s able to impart this information in such a way.

This is a manager essentially telling us that he’s blooding these guys and knows it’s going to be gruesome.

But he won’t judge them on what they do in the here and now because this is part of their development cycle. “It’s a sink or swim mentality,” he says, and that’s critical to understanding why we’re going to be better off for this.

This guy may be admitting that this stuff is down to him, but that’s not the same as saying he’s got it wrong. He knows exactly what he’s doing … and that’s comforting even on a day when we’re all still trying to make sense of what we saw.

It makes perfect sense to the manager, and in a weird way this is how he wants it because he knows what emerges from the other side of it will be stronger for the experience.

We are, and have been from the start, in the hands of a man who knows exactly where all the pieces fit.

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  • Stewart says:

    It’s always gonna be a tough ask to load a team with so many bit part players this season, but now is the time to do it,,but the play has been pretty piss poor at times during last 3 games or so,,and it keeps our friend’s in the press and telly happy for time being,,these post split games mean a lot to them teams still with summit to play for(Europe) dammed if you do,, dammed if you don’t,

  • George says:

    ‘easily the team’s worst performance in domestic football since he took over”

    Jesus, talk about reactive. Ridiculous comment. If you think that was worse than at Ibrox a couple of weeks ago then God help you.

    • James Forrest says:

      It was worse than Ibrox a couple of weeks ago, yes. Defensively, they looked like total strangers.

  • Jimmy says:

    I fully trust in Ange. When he talks people should listen. Happy to take criticism and not shifting the blame on the players. A few weeks ago James, you did a piece on what was required to strengthen the squad. Like yourself I wasn’t completely sure. Last few games would suggest there is more work required than we thought. Replacements for first regular team players in central defence and full backs have struggled big time, if they are going to struggle in the Spl what chance do they stand in the huge theatre of the champions league. Having a competitive team in Europe is something I have missed greatly. Even living overseas. Having a full house rocking on European nights is something to behold.

  • peterbrady says:

    We need a clear out of dead wood collecting wage we need to step up to next level we have a first eleven and five or six adequate back ups clear out or move on the rest thank them for contribution. In ange we trust he must demand total backing from Nicolson and Dermott . Sevco must remain in our shadow Glasgow’s green and white and always will be HAIL!. HAIL. COYBIG.

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    The pre-season 23/24 trophy’s already in the ibrox trophy room, even before we’re done wi this one, so nae surprises there. Although ah don’t think these latest performances have been fair on the travellin support especially, ah think Ange knows exactly whits needed. If he gets the proper backin by the board, ah’ve every confidence he’ll dae the necessary and have all these deluded, ibrox boot lickers, chokin on their words again next season.

  • king murdy says:

    good article james….
    i agree with you….i believe ange has things under control, and we will benefit from the recent performances…come the cup final and next season…as tavpen might say…the real celtic will be back…better we find out how the fringe players cope now – in dead rubber matches – than in the heat of a major match.
    i just wonder, if some of the more aware huns…yea, yea, i know…but there MUST be some of them out there…will realise their 3-0 win over us, is not as shiny as it first appeared…
    HH… ange we trust !!!!

  • king murdy says:

    PS…..56 years ago today…..greatest ever scottish team achievement……
    and it’s STILL killing them !!!!!

  • John A says:

    What concerns me is new contracts being gave to people that clearly aren’t good enough. Defensively we have fell to pieces in these nothing games. Some of the players responsible I thought were much better than they are. We need a new CB to help CCV and Starfelt imo

  • SSMPM says:

    Difficult to disagree with any of that. Our team aren’t able to thrive on 5 and 6 changes but as I said in the previous article I wanted to see how the youngsters, additions in the squad coped and now is the time to blood them, consequence free.
    It’s easy to criticise Starfelt as a regular centre back, he is clearly unable to inspire Kobay for example in the way CCV can. He was a particular disappointment to me losing ariel battles regularly and not doing much positive progressively with the ball at his feet. But there were three defensive changes not just Kobay and where is Welsh as an option? Injury? We may just need to firm up the back with a big CB & LB too me thinks.
    I can accept was Ange is saying, he’s testing these guys but that 2nd half was a shit show. Onwards and upwards. I hope. HH

  • Johnno says:

    Not so sure I’m buying into that James, and for the first time I’m actually very critical of Ange at present.
    There is still a treble to be won, and fail to see what good can be achieved from putting a lack of confidence within a team, especially to the degree we are seeing at present.
    More worrying is just what a shambles the defensive set up has been lately and last night was frightening how bad it was.
    Now what I’m struggling to understand is why Welsh is continuing to be overlooked still?
    Even more so when Ange claimed he needed to give players more game time?
    After last night can we really depend upon yuki in the CB position in a final for a treble?
    Don’t get me wrong as hardly placing all the blame upon young shoulders, but Ange has been around long enough to know that when a defence isn’t right then the likes of last night remains possible in any given game.
    All for trying new options with next season in mind, but far from impressed with the current formation/team set up especially without enough depth within the squad to stick with the same any longer imo.
    Never seen such a lack of discipline within an Ange team as last night and meada topped that off.
    So overall far to many very bad traits within a team to be carrying at present, and even moreso when a treble still has to be won yet, so failing to see or understand how such poor preparation can be regarded as a positive in the long run when the present hasn’t been completed yet?
    Sorry to say it but that dreaded word of complacency is starting to spring to mind and still remains the biggest enemy to this celtic team and way to much on show at present especially from ones you wouldn’t expect it to becoming a factor either.
    Far from happy at present

  • John S says:

    It’s not so much the changes in personnel, a club like Celtic should be able to think that those on standby are ready to go, big time. It’s firstly Attitude. Even the regulars are far from busting a gut for the cause. The manager is not exempt from this. Secondly, the tactics are predictable to the opposition. Thirdly, the 18 yard box is a free fly zone.

  • Frank says:

    re your last paragraph James. I think we need many more thinking along those lines. As the boss said maybe I shouldnt be here after the last three results. Was that him marking a few cards? Don’t think he is happy with some of the comments from Celtic fans. Whilst most of us are shocked at the last three performances he’s explained what his thinking is and we have to accept that. But lets hope hes right and all will be well in final two games

  • Mark B says:

    Even a half baked Celtic team should not be losing four to Hibs. Some of these players have a lot of growing to do to fit the shirt. Some won’t make it.

  • Johnny Green says:

    Ange was to blame for not substituting the substitute. Surely it was apparent to everyone that Maeda was a danger to himself!

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