Postecoglou's Celtic overcome 'terrible errors'

3 weeks ago 11
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Ange Postecoglou has piloted Celtic through to the group stage of the UEFA Europa League, overcoming two "terrible errors" to beat AZ Alkmaar 3-2 on aggregate this morning (AEST).

Leading 2-0 after the first leg in Glasgow, Celtic lost 2-1 in the Netherlands with star Japanese striker Kyogo Furuhashi's third minute goal proving crucial.

It was a nervy night in the Netherlands though, with two Celtic blunders leading to AZ goals.

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First, former England goalkeeper Joe Hart inexplicably hesitated to clear the ball as Zakaria Aboukhlal pounced to gain possession and find an empty net in the sixth minute.

Then in the 26th, Swedish defender Carl Starfelt's attempted clearance went horribly wrong to gift AZ an own goal and cause Postecoglou to sweat.

"We made two pretty terrible errors but that's what happens when you're dealing with human beings, they're going to make mistakes," the former Socceroos coach said.

Watch the full replay of the Celtic vs AZ Alkmaar clash on Stan Sport here!

Ange Postecoglou of Celtic during the UEFA Europa League playoff against AZ Alkmaar. (Getty)

"We didn't react well initially. In the last 30 minutes of the first half we second guessed ourselves, got apprehensive and worried about making another mistake.

"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."

Celtic celebrate Kyogo Furuhashi's goal against AZ Alkmaar. (ANP Sport via Getty Images)

The loss snapped Celtic's six game winning streak but progression through to the group stage is all that really counts.

The Europa League draw will be held at 8pm tonight (AEST).

"It means we're going to be playing in one of the elite competitions against good quality opponents and ensuring there will be some more special European nights at home this season," Postecoglou said.

"It's been an extraordinary four weeks when you think about what we've done in that period of time. It was hugely important we got through."

Celtic's next assignment is also a big one - the Old Firm derby against Rangers on Sunday night (AEST).

Furuhashi, who has been in red hot form since signing for Celtic, is in doubt for that match after picking up a knock against AZ.

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