CELTIC legend Davie Hay has already stated he believes Ange Postecoglou is delivering on the two most important fronts – results and transfers, as CQN reported at the weekend.
The Greek-Australian gaffer has been busy in all four transfer windows since arriving as Neil Lennon’s long-term successor in June 2021.
The Hoops squad has gone through a total makeover as Postecoglou has searched far and wide for players to strengthen his pool for the rigours and challenges that lie ahead at home and abroad.
PARADISE LOST…Moritz Jenz left in January.
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 former Parkhead player and manager said: “It was interesting to see how quickly Ange made up his mind that Moritz Jenz and Oliver Albidgaard didn’t have long-term futures at Celtic.
“Both the German central defender and the Danish midfielder had signed season-long loan deals, but they didn’t get past the turn of the year.
“It was obvious neither Jenz nor Abildgaard, two fine players, didn’t measure up to the Celtic manager’s exacting standards and he wasn’t about to waste anyone’s time.
PARADISE LOST…Oliver Abildgaard had his loan stay cut short.
“He knew they would not be making their stays in the east end of Glasgow permanent and there was little point in them hanging around.
“Similarly, keeper Vasilas Barkas, a £4.5million buy from AEK Athens, and Albian Ajeti, the Swiss striker bought for £5million from West Ham, rarely figured under Ange.
“The club had paid out big money to bring them in the previous year and there is no chance they will recoup that outlay. I doubt if either will figure again in a Celtic first team.
“Christopher Jullien played about 14 minutes of a comeback game in the 4-0 Scottish Cup win over Raith Rovers just over a year ago and that was that for the central defender.
“The towering Frenchman cost £7million when he arrived from Toulouse – £1million more than Cameron Carter-Vickers from Spurs – and became the hero of the Celtic support when he scored the League Cup winner against Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox team in December 2019.
PARADISE LOST…£7million centre-back Christopher Jullien returned to France in the summer.
“A year later, Jullien collided with a goal post in a 3-0 win over Dundee United at Parkhead and that was just about the end of his Celtic career.
“Sentiment clearly does not come into it as far as Postecoglou is concerned. He does not allow his vision for the club to be blurred by emotions and, of course, that is the way it has to be.
“I have sat in that manager’s chair at Parkhead and had to make some hard decisions. I have sold or released some players I actually liked on a personal basis.
“I knew their heart lay at Celtic, I was well aware that they would run through walls and give their very last ounce of energy or sweat for the club.
“But, in your heart of hearts, you know these players are just not good enough for a club the size and stature of Celtic. You cannot give someone a transfusion of talent.
PARADISE LOST…Giorgos Giakoumakis was shifted to MLS side Atlanta United.
“In the end, that’s all that matters. You have to weigh up what the individual can provide for Celtic Football Club on a consistent basis.
“If you don’t believe they can cope with the everyday demands of what it takes to fill that shirt then you have to move them on, for their sake as well as that of Celtic.
“I’m told Ange made personal contact with Giorgos Giakoumakis before he joined up at Parkhad in August 2021, one of his first recruits for the club.
“Ange, of course, spent five years in Athens before his family emigrated to Australia. The striker was born in Heraklion, capital of the Greek island of Crete. There may hve been a kindred spirit between the manager and player.
“However, once Giakoumakis had knocked back a contract extension in November and there were rumblings from his homeland about the player wanting a move, we knew there would be only one outcome.
“Postecoglou will not tolerate the possibility of a disruptive influence around the place and it was only a matter of time before the player was on his bike.
“So, the message is clear for one and all. It’s Ange’s way or the highway.”
* TOMORROW: Don’t miss another big EXCLUSIVE from Davie Hay – only in your champion CQN.