AZ Alkmaar vs Celtic: Ange Postecoglou says side will continue to attack despite first-leg lead

Celtic beat AZ Alkmaar 2-0 at Parkhead in the first leg of their Europa League play-off last week; Ange Postecoglou's side travel to the Netherlands for the second leg on Thursday before Old Firm game on Sunday; watch Rangers vs Celtic, live on Sky Sports from 11am

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 11: Manager Ange Postecoglou during a Celtic training session at Lennoxtown, on August 11, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Image: Ange Postecoglou's side have won six consecutive matches

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou insists there will be no change to their attacking outlook in their Europa League play-off away to AZ Alkmaar on Thursday, despite his side taking a 2-0 lead into the second leg in the Netherlands.

Celtic's victory in the first game at Parkhead was their fifth successive win, and they extended that run to six matches with a 6-0 thrashing of St Mirren at home on Saturday.

Postecoglou's team have scored 24 goals in those six games and he insists his players will look to maintain that impressive record and press home their advantage against AZ.

"I think that is the best approach from us," said the Hoops manager, who admits the club are still "talking to a number of targets".

"If we go there and try to defend for 90 minutes, I just think you are asking for trouble.

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Ange Postecoglou says reaching the Europa League group stages gives Celtic the chance to do something special

"They are a good team and we know at home they are going to be playing fairly high tempo and high-intensity football to score a goal.

"If we sit back we are just going to invite pressure on ourselves. Our best football has been going the other way, going forward, and if we score goals, it puts more pressure on the opposition.

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"We won't change our approach, it is the best strategy for us."

Postecoglou also noted the action Rangers took against fans who racially abused Kyogo Furuhashi as the "right thing" to do.

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Highlights of the Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and St Mirren

The Ibrox club handed out indefinite bans to supporters after a social media video showed travelling fans singing racist songs about the Hoops' Japanese forward.

The footage emerged on Sunday afternoon when Rangers were in Dingwall for a 4-2 win over Ross County.

The Govan club investigated the incident and have also taken action against the supporters club which organised the tickets and coach trip to the Highlands.

Asked if he was impressed with Rangers' swift response, Postecoglou said: "It doesn't matter who it involves, we don't need to be impressed. It just has to happen.

"I don't think Rangers acted because they wanted to impress anyone. I would like to think people see right and wrong and just deal with it.


"This doesn't need endless debates on radio or television on what should happen and why it happened. It is wrong, we know it is wrong.

"It is not something someone sees any grey in. I would be surprised because we all understand how people in that situation feel when you are the victim of something like this.

"They did the right thing in dealing with it and whoever else it happens to or whoever else wants to transgress - whatever organisation they are involved in - I expect it to be dealt with the same way.

"Just simple, deal with it and when the consequences come that quickly and without too much debate, I think people start to realise maybe a line has been drawn and we shouldn't really conduct ourselves in this way anymore."

Postecoglou admits he can only hope Furuhashi, who signed from Vissel Kobe in July, has been unaffected.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 18: Celtic's Kyogo Furuhashi (R) and manager Ange Postecoglou during a UEFA Europa League qualifier between Celtic and AZ Alkmaar at Celtic Park, on August 18, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Image: Kyogo Furuhashi has six goals in his first seven games for Celtic

The former Australia boss said: "He's good to go, absolutely. Has he been affected? It's hard because unless you - it's the old adage - walk a mile in a person's shoes, how do you really know?

"He's a really positive character, he is really enjoying his time here - not just the football but living here in a new country and a new experience.

"And when 99 per cent of your experience is overwhelmingly positive, that one per cent - I hope anyway because I feel responsible and protective of him - doesn't affect his overall outlook.

"But it is easy for me to say, it hasn't been directed at me. But he is training well, he is a happy-natured guy and the club are supporting him, the players are certainly around him and he has been good.

"He understands this is not reflective of his experience here."

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