ANGE POSTECOGLOU reveals he “loved the chaos” in his previous spell in Europe before his dramatic arrival at Celtic in June.
The Athens-born boss had a 10-month stint at third-tier Greek outfit Panachaiki in 2008 and admits the fervour and fanaticism of their followers – and that craziness was exactly what he was looking for as he prepared to launch his managerial career.
Postecoglou has taken a fascinating route to Parkhead via roles in his adopted country of Australia before moving to Japan and he is now two games away from picking up his first silverware as Hoops gaffer as he prepares his players for Saturday evening’s Premier Sports League Cup semi-final against holders St Johnstone at Hampden.
POSTECOGLOU IN PARADISE…the Celtic boss shows his delight after a victory.
However, in a candid reflection, he looked at his move to the country of his birth where he lived for five years before the family emigrated to Australia, the 56-year-old coach recalled: “That was a tricky time. It was probably the only time in my career, where there was a little bit of uncertainty.
“I was working pretty regularly up until then, but my tenure with the national youth teams came to an end.
“I was struggling to get a job back in Australia. I always had belief in my own abilities, but I then got the chance to go to Greece.
“Even though I am Greek, they saw me as a foreigner, as an Aussie. My command of the Greek language wasn’t great at the time, but it was an important period for me.
EURO STAR…Ange Postecoglou celebrates the 2-0 win over Ferencvaros.
“I had all these theories in my head about coaching when I took on that job, so to be able to work on them was great. It allowed me to experiment on what worked and what didn’t.
“I had a group of players who were totally different to my own culture and upbringing in Australia. But I just found the experience really rejuvenating in terms of my career and my beliefs.
“It really helped me going forward. I still use some of the methods I worked on and put into practice during that time in Greece.”
Postecoglou has overseen a massive squad rebuild at Celtic with 12 players recruited during a frantic summer while other such as long-serving skipper Scott Brown, top scorer Odsonne Edouard, versatile Kristoffer Ajer and Scotland international playmaker Ryan Christie heading for the exit.
However, the gaffer has dealt well with the upheaval as he attempts to put his jigsaw together and his tenure in his homeland is serving him well to the rollercoaster as the man in charge of one of the world’s most-loved sporting institutions.
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS…Ange Postecoglou has had a rollercoaster five months in charge at Celtic.
He said: “I loved the chaos of Greece. I love Greek football and how you go from one extreme to the other so quickly.
“The same people who wanted to carry you on their shoulders after a win would be having a go at you outside the bus seven days later. I could see their faces – it was exactly the same people.
“But I loved that. It sort of lit a fire inside me at the time and since then things have gone well. That time in Greece just showed me that I love being around passionate football people. The fans were very passionate and if we lost, they’d let you know they weren’t happy.”
Postecoglou, speaking in a report in the Glasgow Herald, added: “I remember once we lost a game and I was crossing the street the next day. The local priest stopped me. He started questioning my substitutions in the game and that summed it up.
THE THINKER…Ange Postecoglou plots the way ahead.
“The whole city was enraptured by their team and I loved that. It just showed me that I was comfortable in that sort of environment. There was nothing I needed to fear.
“Working under that scrutiny wasn’t going to change me or give me stress. Greece showed me that was the type of environment that I did want to be in.
“Before I came to Celtic, people weren’t warning me as such, but they tried to prepare me for what I was going to face. However, what they didn’t realise is that this is exactly what I want.
“This is where I want to be, where I have always wanted to be. That part of it wasn’t daunting for me at all.”