CELTIC boss Ange Postecoglou has praised Dundee United rookie manager Tam Courts ahead on Monday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final showdown at Tannadice.

The experienced former Australia World Cup gaffer, 56, will lock horns with the first-time around coach who is 16 years his junior for the fourth time this season.

The Tayside outfit survived the Hoops striking the bar THREE times to gain a 1-1 draw in the east end of Glasgow in September, but the Parkhead men stormed to a 3-0 victory on their travels before the turn of the year with strikes from Tom Rogic, David Turnbull and Liam Scales.

And a stoppage-time effort from Liel Abada made certain of three crucial points in January and Postecoglou and Co kept up the pressure at the top of the Premiership.

Now United stand in the way of Celtic and a place in the last four of the national competition and the Hoops chief is anticipating a tough encounter.

TOUCHLINE TACTICS…Ange Postecoglou shouts out instructions as Dundee United boss Tam Courts looks away.

Postecoglou, who kicked off his career in the dug-out with South Melbourne in 1996, said: “Your first job is a really critical one, it often dictates whether you’re going to have a career in the game at that level or not.

“It’s not just about being successful, it’s about the way you conduct yourself and the way you handle the pressure, people notice these things.

“So, it’s really important when you’re starting off that you really embrace the craziness of the role and how all-encompassing it is, because it doesn’t change.

“Twenty-five years later, as I’ve said to people, a loss today hurts me just as much as it did 25 years ago.

“All the same sort of pressures I had in my first year in terms of the expectations on myself, they’re still there, so that doesn’t change.

“If you can embrace that early on, then it probably means you’ll be able to carve out a career for yourself, because that’s the key.

“Often young managers start off wanting to be a manager, not understanding that success for any manager, what it looks like is having a career.

ONE…Tom Rogic fires a drive past the lunging Charlie Mulgrew for the opening goal against Dundee United at Tannadice.

TWO…David Turnbull prepares to knock the ball over the line with keeper Benjamin Siegrist helplessly looking on.

THREE…Liam Scales races away after making it 3-0 as Benjamin Siegrist sits it out with Liel Abada about to join the celebrations. 

“If you can still be doing the same job in 20 to 25 years time, then that’s success.”

Courts, who was given the Tannadice post on a full-time capacity in June after Micky Mellons quit, will attempt to outwit his opposite number to bring the Parkhead juggernaut to a halt.

Postecoglou, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “Tam has done a really good job. It’s a really competitive league this year. We have already seen some managers lose their roles if you don’t get a consistent sort of run of results.

“For a young guy, he’s handled it really well. Dundee United are one of the clubs who expect to be playing in the top half of the table, contesting for Europe, contesting for Cups. He’s done a really good job of steering through the pressure that exists in this competition, where you know two or three bad results and people are putting you under the spotlight.

“He’s handled it well. I’ve spoken to him the times we’ve played and he’s a really respectful guy.

“I guess for any young manager those first few steps are the critical ones.

“If you take me back 25 years, I realise now how important it was in my first attempt at it that I made an impact.

TRIUMPHANT AT TANNADICE…Ange Postecoglou is a happy man at full-time.

“Because if you don’t in your first go, it’s hard to get a second opportunity in management. The way you address your first role is really, really important and it’s why I often tell guys who want to get into it not to rush.

“It’s not about just getting a job and thinking everything is going to go smoothly.

“Obviously, to last that long, you’re going to have to notch your wins along the way, but you’re not going to win every championship, you’re not going to win every trophy that’s on offer.

“But if you can keep doing what you’re doing for the next 25 years then you’ve done well.”

The Hoops boss has eyes on the domestic clean sweep after guiding the team to the dirst silverware of the campaign with a 2-1 victory over Hibs in the Premier Sports League Cup Final in December.

Celtic are three points clear at the top of the Premiership and are ready to meet the next challenge in the Scottish Cup on Tayside.

It’s never dull with Ange Postecoglou around.

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