Postecoglou wants a statement display from Celtic against St Johnstone

Postecoglou felt his players went into 'survival mode' after equalising early in the second half.

Ange Postecoglou wants a statement display from Celtic against St Johnstone SNS Group

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has challenged his players to rediscover their attacking intent in Perth and set themselves up for a Champions League turnaround.

Postecoglou felt his players went into “survival mode” after equalising early in the second half of their 3-1 defeat by RB Leipzig in Germany on Wednesday night.

The home team dominated from there on in to leave Celtic bottom of Group F with one point from three matches.

The Scottish champions had created a number of first-half chances, just as they did in their opening defeat by Real Madrid, and as they did throughout their away game against Shakhtar Donetsk.

They remain with a chance of progressing given they have two home games coming up against Leipzig and the Ukrainians.

And Postecoglou wants his players to get back into the groove of their relentless attacking play when they take on St Johnstone in the Premiership on Saturday.

When asked about their chances of finishing second in their group, the former Australia head coach said: “To do that and give ourselves a chance of that, we can’t veer away from the football we want to play.

“I think in all three games, when we have done that, we have matched it with every team.

“It’s a difficult one because we are exposing a lot of players to this level for the first time. There’s nothing that can replace the experience of being out there and understanding what you can and can’t do. We are kind of learning as we go along.

“But the key thing for us is to play a really strong game in the league on Saturday and then prepare for next week and put in another performance that can give us a chance.

“It’s not about our football, our football in the game was good enough against a fantastic opponent at Champions League level.

“We just have to make sure our mentality is a lot stronger at this level and we have got to do that by making sure we are back to business on Saturday.”

Celtic will have to do without the suspended Callum McGregor in Perth but possibly beyond after the midfielder went off with a knee injury in Germany.

Aaron Mooy had been left in Glasgow after picking up a “niggle” while David Turnbull was a late call-off with injury.

Carl Starfelt will remain out with a knee injury but fellow centre-back Cameron Carter-Vickers is battling to get back to fitness and Liel Abada will return after missing the midweek game for religious reasons.

“We were a few people down,” Postecoglou said. “Hopefully we get some bodies back because we are going to need them in terms of rotation. These games take a lot out of the players.

“We have a lunchtime kick-off on Saturday so we are going to need some extra bodies. Hopefully we get some of those back and we can maintain our levels of performance.”

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