WIM JANSEN knew what he was bringing to Celtic when he signed Henrik Larsson from Feyenoord in 1997.
Jozef Venglos was equally certain Lubomir Moravcik, his former Czechoslovakian international skipper, was capable of doing great things at Parkhead.
And Ange Postecoglou did not hesitate when he splashed £4.6million to make Kyogo Furuhashi a priority signing from Vissel Kobe in July.
The talismanic striker was joined in Glasgow on Hogmanay by Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda and Yosuke Ideguchi as the Greek-Australian, who had quit Yokohama F Marinos in June, raided the J-League once again.
HOOP HOOP HOORAY…Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates his winning goal against Hearts at Parkhead in December.
THREE CHEERS…Japanese trio Yosuke Ideguchi, Daizen Maeda and Reo Hatate pose on their first day at Parkhead.
Former Celtic skipper Paul Lambert can see the similarities as his old club move to within a potential eight-game run-in that could see Postecoglou emulate his ex-boss Martin O’Neill and Brendan Rodgers by achieving an extraordinary clean sweep of domestic trophies in his debut campaign in charge at Parkhead.
The Hoops, of course, are six points clear at the Premiership summit with six games to play following their 2-1 success at Ibrox on Sunday and they will face Giovanni van bronckhorst’s outfit in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden a week on Sunday.
A victory in that encounter will see Postecoglou and Co return on May 21 for the grand finale to an unforgettable term at the national stadium, the scene of their Premier Sports League Cup triumph over Hibs six days before Christmas.
TWO OF A KIND…Henrik Larsson and Wim Jansen celebrate Celtic’s title success in 1998.
Ex-international midfield powerhouse Lambert said: “The great thing is that Ange brought the four Japanese lads into the club and he knew exactly what he was going to get.
“He knows what type of guys they were, what type of ability they have and the probably best of those lads, Kyogo, hasn’t even played recently.
“Reo Hatate, who looked tired at Ibrox, he’d been in Japan the week before, but he worked his backside off and Daizen Maeda was even more so. Just runs and runs.
“Ange knew what he was getting and that was similar to Wim Jansen when he took Henrik. He knew what he was getting.
“Jozef Venglos with Lubo Moravcik. When you go down that road and know what you are getting, it makes your job a little bit easier.”
PARADISE…Jozef Venglos shows his colours as he takes charge of Celtic.
Lambert, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “Without pre-empting anything, if they can keep doing what they are doing and manage to get over the line, it’d right up there with that achievement of Wim.
“I’d compare it to that Wim era. He took Celtic over at an incredibly tough time and I’ve said before it was a genius stroke that he pulled off.
“Paul McStay, who in my opinion is one of Celtic’s greatest-ever players, had left. Paolo Di Canio had left, Pierre van Hooijdonk had left, Jorge Cadete had left.
“Andy Thom stayed, but for Wim to get the better of that Rangers side of that time which was really good was an incredible achievement.
“A top Rangers side with Gazza and Brian Laudrup, Richard Gough, Andy Goram. What Wim did was incredible and I’d put Ange’s achievement up with that.
CZECH-MATE…Lubomir Moracvik did not let down Jozef Venglos at Parkhead.
“Martin O’Neill took over when Celtic had finished 21 points behind, but we still had some top players – Jackie McNamara, Tom Boyd, Tosh McKinlay, Henrik Larsson, myself.
“We still had a right good side, but we just needed a manager like Martin to guide us and give us a hand.
“But how Wim did it was phenomenal. And he lost his first couple of games. Pretty similar with Ange losing some games early on.
“The thing Wim has is that he HAD to stop Ten in a Row. That’s the only difference I see.
“But what Ange has done with the start he had, the turnover of players and his demeanor, it’s been magnificent.”
ROARING SUCCESS…Paul Lambert celebrates a wonder goal against Rangers in January 1998.
Lambert added: “The club has always been good structure wise. Obviously, Peter Lawwell did an incredible job and Michael Nicholson is now in and taken it on.
“It’s always been in a brilliant place, it just needed a manager with calm to turn it over and they have done great.
”I think Celtic have the best team this year and now it’s just down to finishing off the great work that has already been done.”
The campaign countdown continues with the visit of St Johnstone on Saturday afternoon before the split.
The Hoops have the opportunity of moving NINE points ahead of the Ibrox side who are due to take on St Mirren in Paisley at noon the following day.