Celtic 1-1 Midtjylland: Ange Postecoglou rewarded for his faith in youth
Celtic coach Ange Postecoglou has hailed the inexperienced ‘outstanding’ center back pair of Stephen Welch and Dean Murray in his team’s Champions League qualifier draw with Midtjylland.
He impressed new signing Lil Abada, 19, and opened the scoring for the hosts before being replaced by newcomer Murray in the 45th minute.
The sacking of Nir Bitton in the first half prompted the entry of the 18-year-old defender, who has shone alongside the 21-year-old Welshman.
Despite his failure to score, Postecoglou’s competitive introduction was driven by the flair of his young talent – but how did they do it?
The Welshman shines in a temporary backline
There could have been mass horror around Glasgow’s east end when Celtic fans set their eyes on Postecoglou’s defensive line-up to visit their Danish opponents.
While Greg Taylor is an excellent Scottish left-back to count, few would have struck an eyelid if the trio alongside him – the Welshman, Peyton and Anthony Ralston – had not appeared in green and white again after their last run.
Peyton, an experienced player, left the field red-faced after a stupid second attack that could be booked with his side 1-0.
“It’s disappointing for him,” Postecoglou said afterwards, choosing not to criticize the Israeli. “He’s probably the most frustrated of anyone because I know how much he wants to contribute.
“The important thing for me was the players’ reaction. I thought the two young midfielders would be Dine [Murray] And the [Stephen] The Welshman, in a Champions League match, was fantastic.”
The Welshman – in only his fourth European appearance – led Celtic’s defense through a frantic encounter. The former loanee Morton was not only dependable on defense but also played a vital role in building attacks.
The 21-year-old had the most touches, passes and highest passing accuracy on the field, and stood tall for Murray who also impressed with his first-ever competitive appearance – racking up the most passes (three) of anyone on the field. The playing field. In just 45 minutes.
Not worship as a start for you
Obada – who was signed only last Thursday – was not in Postecoglou’s starting line-up for Tuesday’s game.
But the manager was surprised by including the Israeli winger in his starting line-up, and it proved to be a smart decision.
Despite being substituted shortly before the end of the first half, Obada scored the first goal in a lively display that also saw him make three key passes.
“He did two or three sessions with us,” Postecoglou said. “He’s early in his Celtic career, but he showed a really good smart move and was in the right area to score.”
“Murray has a great career ahead” – reaction
Celtic defender Stephen Welch speaks to BBC SportsSound
Danish [Murray] Good in the air and ball too. He’s young so he’ll make mistakes but it’s about how he bounces back from them. He has an amazing career ahead of him.
I think everyone is trying to push to be in the starting line-up and we all want good players too.
With the chances we created, we could have scored four or five, especially in the first half. We looked like a real threat, so we’re going there with real confidence to win the match.