Ange Postecoglou doesn’t have his problems to seek at Celtic after their troubled start to the season continued on Sunday as they were held to a 1-1 draw against Dundee United.
A youthful Tangerine outfit left Parkhead with a share of the spoils for the first time in eight years as Ian Harkes header immediately cancelled out Liel Abada’s first-half opener as the Hoops fell six points adrift of Premiership leaders Rangers.
Not only did Albian Ajeti miss an open goal from just three yards out and his side hit the crossbar on three separate occasions, Postecoglou was also unable to name a single striker among his seven substitutes.
Add in further injury setbacks to Josip Juranovic and James McCarthy, it proved to be another weekend to forget for the Australian head coach.
Postecoglou last week admitted it felt as though he had “walked under a ladder” as he addressed their slump in form and Sunday’s performance outlined their urgent need to have key players back available.
The absence of skipper Callum McGregor, who signed a new five-year-deal on Friday, and star striker Kyogo Furuhashi was evident with Ajeti once again failing to convince he is up to the task of leading Celtic’s attack.
Despite his mounting problems, Postecoglou chose to focus on the positives and admitted he can’t believe the Scottish Premiership title race is being called after just seven games.
He said: “It’s a weird league! You call things early here, don’t you?
“It’s quite remarkable that we’re seven games in and people are calling the title already. It’s just not how I work and I’m not pulling up stumps after seven games because other people seem to think there’s some sort of unsurmountable challenge out there for us.
“If we weren’t playing well and we were struggling through things then by all means I’d be looking at things a lot different.
“But with the efforts we’re putting in at the moment, the football we’re playing, the chances we’re creating and what we’ve got to come back into the team, I just see it totally differently.
“I don’t worry about these things. I look at how my team is playing and what we’re trying to create.
“I know what the club’s about, I know what the expectations are and I believe the road we’ve started on will get us there, so we’ll just keep going.”
Postecoglou confirmed Juranovic had been sent for scans after tweaking his hamstring while McCarthy’s withdrawal was down to the midfielder struggling to shake off an earlier knock.
However, Greek forward Giorgos Giakoumakis could make a speedier than anticipated return to the squad from a calf strain sustained last week.
Postecoglou stated: “The scan came back actually more positive than we thought so we’re hoping he’ll get back into training this week.
“If Giakoumakis gets a full week of training we’re quite hopeful for next weekend.
“We’ve just got to get through to the next international break.
“Kyogo isn’t too far away and so is Callum. James Forrest and Mikey Johnston will also come back to help us – we’re hoping post international break.”
Celtic will now have to put their latest Premiership woes behind them as they prepare for a daunting visit from Bundesliga giants Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League on Thursday.
The Bhoys threw a two-goal lead away on matchday one against Real Betis as they succumbed to a 3-2 defeat and Postecoglou’s side will know another loss will make their task of qualifying for the knockout phase extremely difficult.
He revealed: “It won’t be hard motivating the players. What’s important is we recover now and freshen up.”