ANGE POSTECOGLOU pulled off a masterstroke when he signed his former Australian international player Aaron Mooy in the summer.
That’s the verdict of former St Mirren boss Danny Lennon who worked for two years with the midfielder at the Paisley club after signing him from Bolton in 2010.
Their partnership ended when Mooy returned Down Under after becoming homesick – but his ex-gaffer reckoned it would be only a matter of time before he came back to the UK.
HEAD BHOY…Aaron Mooy is congratulated by Matt O’Riley after scoring his first goal for Celtic in the 4-0 win over Hibs at Easter Road in December.
And Lennon admitted he is not surprised to see Mooy, now 32, make such a massive impact at Celtic since joining as a free agent after a Covid-interrupted stay in the China Superleague with Shanghai Port.
The impressed one-time Buddies chief said: “Aaron is a lovely lad and one of the most talented footballers I have ever worked with.
“I remember when he signed for Celtic and some people were saying he would maybe just be a squad player. I never felt that. I always knew he had the ability to go and become a key man in the team.
“Aaron has an unbelievable talent to make the extraordinary look ordinary.
“He’s always in space, he always turns the right way, he always receives the ball well and he plays the right passes.
SPOT ON…Aaron Mooy strokes home a penalty-kick for his second Celtic strike in the 4-0 romp in Edinburgh.
“He makes it all look so easy, but believe me it’s not. That’s a gift. He’s a special player.
“Aaron is so intelligent and he is steps ahead on the pitch. He will be thinking two or three passes ahead.”
Lennon, speaking to the Scottish Sun, continued: “I loved working with him at St Mirren, but, like a lot of young players overseas, he really missed his family.
“In the end, he decided to leave Scotland and go home. But I always knew he wasn’t finished with British football. He had far too much ability.
“He just needed to settle, get more games under his belt and then go again. When I heard he had signed with Melbourne City, with their links to Manchester City, I expected his career to go ‘Bang!’ – and that’s what happened.
“City brought him back to England, then he moved to Huddersfield and Brighton and has had a great career.
ROARING SUCCESS…Aaron Mooy and Kyogo Furuhashi celebrate the Aussie’s goal against Dundee United at Tannadice in the 2-0 win last month.
“Now he’s back in Scotland and it’s funny how things turn out, but I was just so pleased to see him realise all that ability he had as a young player.”
Lennon added: “I’ve been watching him a lot in recent months and he’s been playing so well.
“Celtic are a good team to watch. They pass and move so well and Aaron is ideal for the system.
“When he first signed, he was probably labelled wrongly as a holding midfielder.
“Don’t get me wrong, he can play that position and do it very well, but he’s got a lot to offer going forward.
“Aaron could easily play in behind the striker and the attacking midfield roles that Ange uses are perfect for him.
“He’s been scoring and creating goals and the Celtic fans love him. I’m so pleased for him.”
IT TAKES TWO…Aaron Mooy and Filipe Jota, Celtic’s goalscorers against Dundee United, celebrate three more points for the champions.
Next challenge for Mooy and the Bhoys will be tomorrow when Aberdeen visit Parkhead on yet another crucial Premiership encounter.
The Hoops kicked off this season’s crusade with a 2-0 win over the Dons on July 31, just 12 days after the Aussie international star had signed a two-year contract.
Mooy was a late substitute for Matt O’Riley when comeback captain Callum McGregor rifled in the only goal of the Pittodrie encounter as domestic football restarted after the World Cup Finals in Qatar in December.
It is more likely he will have a more significant role to play on this occasion.