Ange Postecoglou wants lessons to be learned from offensive comments at the awards dinner

Ange Postecoglou had little time to enjoy the Manager of the Year award presented to him by the Scottish Football Writers’ Association in Glasgow on Sunday night before the event was shrouded in controversy over the content of a guest speaker’s contribution.

Aside from allegations of sexism and homophobia, there were concerns over references to Postecoglou’s imported Japanese players containing an archaic racial description, prompting some guests – including TV sports presenter Eilidh Barbour – to protest.

The Celtic manager raised the issue in his media briefing ahead of the Scottish Premiership’s meeting with Dundee United in Tannadice tonight and when asked about the comments – which led to a unanimous apology from the SFWA committee – Postecoglou said: “The Content was probably inappropriate. To be honest I don’t even know if it goes with anything. You can make a controversy out of it, but I just don’t think people learn anything from it. Make it an educational moment to be better for the people in charge of organizing these nights.

“You always have to have empathy and put yourself in other people’s shoes to see how it affects them. If we are all aware of this, there will be fewer moments when people make mistakes because they have thought about it beforehand.”

For a team elected champions weeks ago, Celtic appear to have taken their time to secure the Scottish Premiership title but it seems all but unthinkable that they fail to do so in Tannadice tonight.

“30 games ago we were way behind when it came to looking like a team that could end up being champions,” said Postecoglou. “We have no illusions that we have the ability to make this a special night. Even a draw might be enough, but we’re constantly under pressure.”

The consequence of Celtic’s title success is automatic qualification for next season’s Champions League group stage, a circumstance that makes it much easier to recruit targeted players for reinforcement.

“Because we’re going straight into the group stage, we know we have a really good opportunity in pre-season to work with the group of players without any competitive pressure,” Postecoglou said.

“It would be great if we could have all the new players on board by then. Sometimes these things get a little out of hand, but our intention is to try and get our business done early.

“We know what we need and we’ve identified the areas we need to improve, so we’ve already started working on that. We want the club to remain at this level in the long term.

“Anyone who is often enough in this thin air gathers the experience to make a difference. This is our challenge. It’s going to be exciting and very challenging, but what an opportunity for us as a football club to measure our players and our team against the best in Europe.”

Only a loss can deny Celtic their prize tonight and even in that unlikely event they would be confirmed as champions should Rangers lose points against Ross County at Ibrox.

With the Europa League and Scottish Cup finals next week in mind, Giovanni van Bronckhorst provided five teenagers in Sunday’s 2-0 win against Dundee United and the Rangers manager will be his again tonight protect regulars.

In the other games, Motherwell plays Hearts at home, while in the bottom half St Johnstone meets Aberdeen and Livingston travels to St Mirren.

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022] Ange Postecoglou wants lessons to be learned from offensive comments at the awards dinner

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