FORMER Celtic skipper Tom Boyd insists the signs are impeccable as Ange Postecoglou prepares his squad for his second season in charge.
The Greek-Australian arrived just over a year ago as Neil Lennon’s long-term successor following the collapse of the three-month pursuit for former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe.
Postecoglou had to hit the ground running as he performed an amazing about-turn in his squad that had limped in without a trophy for the first time in 11 years while the historic bid for a tenth successive title had been blown shortly after the turn of the year.
Inspirational skipper Scott Brown had already left at the end of his contract for his ill-fated stay at Aberdeen, Kristoffer Ajer was heading out for Brentford and he would be joined across the border by Odsonne Edouard (Crystal Palace) and Ryan Christie (Bournemouth).
WELCOME TO PARADISE…Ange Postecoglou proudly holds the Celtic jersey on day one at Parkhead a year ago.
Goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas and striker Abian Ajeti, bought in the previous summer at a combined cost of £9.5million, proved to be expensive mistakes.
Undeterred, Postecoglou pressed ahead to bring in 12 recruits with Kyogo Furuhashi, Liel Abada, Josip Juranovic, Joe Hart and Giorgos Giakoumakis among those signing permanent deals while Cameron Carter-Vickers and Filipe Jota arrived on season-long loans.
Now the 56-year-old gaffer is searching to add to his player pool with left-backs Alexandro Bernabei and Mohanad Jeahze, centre-half Ko Itakura and Brazilian midfielder Vinicius Souza reportedly on his radar while, of course, Carter-Vickers has agreed a four-year switch from Spurs in a £6million deal.
Former Scotland international defender Boyd, who was brought to Parkhead by Liam Brady with Tony Cascarino heading for Chelsea in a straight swap in 1992, said: “I trust him. That’s what managers are judged on. The players they bring into the club and can they make an impact?
JUST CHAMPION…Kyogo Furuhashi was a bargain at £4.6million from Vissel Kobe in July 2021.
“Unfortunately, a couple of years ago, the players we brought in didn’t have that impact and that is one of the reasons why we didn’t win the league.
“Now you look at what Ange has done and every player he has brought in has made a massive impact to help us win the league and a Cup.
“What he is doing, he is doing right and that is why we trust what he is doing.
“The adjustment of style, the formation which was alien to many of us at the start was working by the end of the season by winning the league and getting us into the Champions League proper.
“That’s the faith we have in the manager and because he has done it. And it has given us that confidence to go into next season hoping he can bring in more better players.”
Boyd, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “It’s the best time to try and do it. You are guaranteed that bit of money from the Champions League, so you can go out and do that a little earlier.
FOLLOW THE LEADER…Cameron Carter-Vickers has agreed a permanent deal at Celtic. Now for Filipe Jota.
“Maybe that helped us get Cameron done and we’re looking for more players.
“The one thing I would say is that so is everyone else, but, hopefully, we can find some gems along the way.
“We want to improve in every transfer window and, up until now, he has been able to create that in terms of the players he has brought in. They have been able to make an impact.
“But where we go and what players come in? We put our faith in the manager.
“They know and have a better outlook than we see. If we see a player who is linked with them, the due diligence has been done well before that by the club.”
Looking at the Carter-Vickers arrival, Boyd added: “You see the impact he made last season.
JOY BHOYS…Ange Postecoglou with No.2 John Kennedy celebrate the title success.
“Sometimes we miss out on players like that because they have been playing so well.
“It is great credit to everyone at the club, the board and whoever, who sanctioned the move. We’d seen there was a player there and the impact he had on loan which worked as it allowed us to see him as a player.
“He just got stronger and stronger and by the end was competing for the Player of the Year.
“You don’t want to lose someone like that and we’re extremely happy everyone on the board and the management managed to get done to continue the squad depth we have got at the moment.
“I’ve no doubt his experience within the club whether it is playing in front of the fans or being told about the atmosphere, he’s heard it from the best players in the world saying what a magnificent atmosphere the Champions League nights have, but he sees it every week.
“Whether it be home or away, he sees that and, like anyone, you would want more of it and, thankfully, Cameron will be with us for a few years and can experience some more great nights.”
Now the priority for Postecoglou is to get Jota to agree a permanent move from Benfica while looking at other areas to make sure Celtic are equipped for the challenges at home and abroad.