Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic have held on for a 3-2 aggregate win over AZ Alkmaar, despite losing 2-1 in the Netherlands, to seal their spot in the Europa League group stage.
Japanese star Kyogo Furuhashi’s brilliant start to life in Glasgow ]continued as he struck in just the third minute with his seventh goal for Celtic.
But two ”terrible” blunders before half-time from Joe Hart and Carl Starfelt put qualification in the balance.
Postecoglou admitted his team briefly lost its way but was pleased his players were able to show the resilience needed to get the job done.
“We didn’t react well (to the mistakes) initially. In the last 30 minutes of the first half we second-guessed ourselves, got apprehensive and worried about making another mistake,” Postecoglou said.
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“The last half hour of the first half we were under siege without any real composure or plan to play through it.
“We just lost belief. We had to break through that barrier.
“I told the players that fear is the biggest impediment to progress and we had to eliminate that from our game.
“Mistakes will happen. We just have to respond better to them and believe in our football.
“… In the second half we dug in when we had to.”
The result ended Celtic’s six-match winning streak heading into Sunday night’s (AEST) Old Firm derby v Rangers but seeing off a challenging opponent over two legs continues Postecolgou’s bright start in the role.
“It means we’re going to be playing in of the elite competitions against good quality opponents and ensuring there will be some more special European nights at home this season,” he said.
“It’s been an extraordinary four weeks when you think about what we’ve done in that period of time.”
It wasn’t all good news with Furuhashi picking up a knock, placing him in doubt for the crunch clash with Rangers.