DAVIE HAY was one of the first to applaud Ange Postecoglou following his introduction as Celtic manager in June 2021.

It looked highly implausible for a smooth takeover from Neil Lennon when you consider the wreckage of the previous season which had come spectacularly off the rails as early as November 29 2020 when Ross County won 2-0 in the League Cup at a silent Parkhead with Covid restrictions in place.

The flop brought an end to a glorious run of 35 consecutive Cup wins that had earned four triumphs in succession in that tournament alone.

It was all over for Lennon when the same opposition beat the struggling champions 1-0 in Dingwall three months later with the quest for a tenth successive title already doomed for oblivion.

HAMPDEN HALLELUJAH…a delighted Ange Postecoglou holds aloft the newly-won League Cup with Daizen Maeda getting in on the act.

In another CQN EXCLUSIVE, Hay delivers his forthright views to Celtic book author Alex Gordon, who co-wrote the club ambassador’s best-selling autobiography, ‘The Quiet Assassin‘, which was published in 2009.

The Hoops legend said: “I have always insisted only two things matter in football to a manager – results and transfers.

“That’s as basic as it gets, all the rest is window dressing. You can get all sorts of accolades and praise for your team putting on a show that is easy on the eye as the goals are stacked up.

“However, if there is no silverware at the end of it, you can accept you have failed.

“I should know – I was sacked as Celtic manager in 1987, just a year after I had lifted the league title. One minute a hero, the next a zero. It’s a harsh fact of football life and if you can’t cope with that reality then you are in the wrong job.

“Everything you do is under scrutiny. Once again, that comes with the turf and you know it is not going to be an easy ride, particularly at a club such as Celtic with the constant demands of a worldwide fan base.

“Ange Postecoglou knew that when he accepted the post. He is clearly a bright individual and would have understood what was expected from the first minute he agreed to become the club’s team boss.

ANGE THE FIRST…Postecoglou with the League Cup in December 2021, his first silverware success in his debut campaign as Celtic manager.

“There is no hiding place and excuses are not acceptable for lame performances and bad results. You have to deliver and, if you are fortunate enough to be in charge of Celtic, it helps if you can add style to success.

“There really is a way for Celtic to play. Back in the early sixties, Celtic were not a good team. However, they still insisted in playing attacking football, they never even contemplated playing ten behind the ball.

“Teams such as the now-defunct Third Lanark, Queen of the South, East Stirling and so on could come to Parkhead and get good results.

“So, once again, when you are connected with this club you know what is expected.

“And what Ange has achieved on the domestic front is nothing short of phenomenal. What he has delivered has been simply incredible.”

ROARING SUCCESS…Ange Postecoglou celebrates with the Celtic fans at Hampden last week.

Hoops icon Hay added: “It took Ange six games to suss the Premiership. He lost his first three away matches at Tynecastle, Ibrox and Livingston – and didn’t lose another on the club’s travels for the remainder of his debut campaign.

“That takes an inner strength and courage in your own convictions. A lot of managers would have folded. They would have thought they were in the wrong movie.

“There was Postecoglou, in a foreign land, a new league, different challenges and a whole new set of players and the easy thing to do would have been to have a change of tact.

“He could have set out his team in an entirely different manner to prevent the odd loss along the way. Play with a bit more caution. He point-blank refused to even consider this possibility.

“I loved it when I heard him say he would have to get success immediately. He said something along the lines of ‘you don’t get two or three years to settle in at club like Celtic’. In saying that, he had removed a safety net.

“And you better believe he knew exactly what he was saying when he made those comments.

“And here we are today. Ange has delivered on results and transfers and an exciting future is assured while he still around.

“We should make the most of Ange Postecoglou in the Celtic dug-out.”

*TOMORROW: Don’t miss another big EXCLUSIVE from Davie Hay – only in your champion CQN.    

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report and best action images from St Mirren v Celtic this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.

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