Ange Postecoglou assumed full responsibility for Celtic’s failure to get off to a flier against Midtjylland in the Champions League.
Hampered by a lack of new faces, the Australian was denied a winning start after Evander’s second half free-kick cancelled out Liel Abada’s opener.
Nir Bitton undermined Celtic’s chances of victory in the first leg by being sent off just before the break a goal to the good and seemingly in the ascendancy.
Ange Postecoglou took responsibility for Celtic’s failure to beat Midtjylland in the Champions League
The Scottish side have it all to do in the second leg after conceding an away goal
Fingers were also pointed at Vasilis Barkas after the Greek keeper failed to deal with Evander’s strike from an acute angle on 66 minutes.
Determined to shoulder the blame for a result that was disappointing but not disastrous, though, Postecoglou said: ‘I am confident tonight that will go there and put in a good performance. I can’t ask any more of the players.
‘Sometimes the result belies the facts before you.
‘We will be better prepared no doubt, in eight days’ time.
‘In fact, I don’t think we will ever be as badly prepared as we were tonight and that’s on me, going into such an important game.
Liel Abada put Celtic ahead in the 39th minute before they were reduced to 10 men
‘We have eight more days. I feel confident that the preparation and the spirt we have, we will put in a good performance. It is on me.’
Abada was the only new signing to start last night but Postecoglou didn’t see the lack of fresh faces as a disadvantage.
‘I don’t think I’m at a disadvantage, my role is to try and support these players and try to prepare them the best I can for what is in front of us,’ he stressed.
‘I haven’t done a great job so far to be honest, because with the disruptions we’ve had, we haven’t been able to bring the players in.
‘My role is to try and reinforce this squad and to try to prepare this squad for what is ahead, and to their credit, the players didn’t look for excuses tonight.
‘They put in a solid shift, and I’m just disappointed they didn’t get the rewards for what I thought was an outstanding performance.’
Already on a yellow card for an earlier foul, Bitton aggressively remonstrated with Anders Dreyer late in the first half after the former St Mirren player had apparently dived in an attempt to win a penalty.
Issued with a second yellow and a red by Swiss referee Sandro Scharer, Bitton’s transgression saw goalscorer Abada sacrificed with teenager Dane Murray thrown on for his competitive debut.
Although Dreyer would himself be sent packing 11 minutes after the break, Midtjylland squared the game through Evander to give the Danes theadvantage in the second qualifying round tie.
Nir Bitton was sent off after clashing with Anders Dreyer while already on a yellow card
Asked if he was frustrated at Bitton, Postecoglou replied: ‘I was frustrated at the result, as a I said, not the performance, but Nir had already been booked and when you’ve been booked you have to be careful in your actions.
‘When you infringe again, you give the opportunity to the referee to give you another caution.
‘It’s disappointing for him more than anything, because he was really keen to put in a strong performance.
‘He had started the game really well for us, so it’s disappointing for him that he misses the second game as well.’
Barkas looked at fault at the Danes’ equaliser but his manager refused to single him out.
‘I’m getting a lot of glass half-empty questions at the moment,’ he said. ‘I think there was plenty of positives tonight rather than people looking for little things that potentially didn’t go right.
‘I thought it was a decent strike, we limited them to a couple of shots on goal with a really brand new back four.
Postecoglou insisted his side will be better prepared for the second leg in eight days time
‘The midfield worked their socks off. The amount of running that Soro and Cal and Ryan Christie did was unbelievable.
‘There’s nothing I’m disappointed in tonight. I’m frustrated at the result because the players didn’t get the result I thought they deserved.
‘I’m the manager of the football club. I’m the one that takes that responsibility of providing support for the players and staff.
‘If things aren’t happening, it’s on me to make them happen.’