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The Poste’ always delivers

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Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, the time has come.  Ange Postecoglou is officially Celtic manager.  It has been a long wait but consistent with Celtic’s typical managerial appointment times (Neil Lennon first got the job on 9 June 2010, despite already being in temp position).

The chapter of our history on Angelos Postecoglou now begins.  I’m only slightly annoyed they didn’t announce it at noon…..  Ange has delivered success beyond expectation wherever he goes.  That will be difficult to achieve at Celtic, where expectations are stratospheric, but hope in our hearts, and all that.

Strap in, it’s going to be a blast.  Best of luck, Ange.

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487 Comments

  1. Cosy Corner Bhoy on

    Never heard of Ange till a week ago but he will have all my support and maybe a few wee prayers for him and us

     

    Welcome to Celtic Park

  2. Go tell the Spartim on

    I’m glad that the BBC quoted Natasha Meikle, if only to prove that women talk as much sh*te as men and non binary about ⚽️ I fear she’s more interested in the recognition than actually researching the points, which is a pity as that’d set her apart from most bloggers

     

     

    The truth is no one knows how well he will do etc, it’ll be down to who we retain and who comes in, in the league we could rely on individual brilliance whilst developing a playing style, we just need to be better than the other ten teams and let attended Glasgow derbies take care of themselves (I don’t think we’ll lack motivation for those )

  3. Today is about the future. I hope Ange does the bizz.

     

     

    Make America great again

     

    Get Brexit done

     

    Get the SNPcult

     

     

    ErnietheegoandJHBunionjack CSC

  4. Success beyond expectation? Really? Well I expect us to be out of Europe by end of August, out of league race by end of October. So not too much to do to overachieve… We have a whole team to buy.. Still have to get a DoF to buy them unless we are getting Japanese and Australian players.. Still no working youth system. If we get £40 M in from transfers then we will spend £15. PL golden handshake needs paid!

  5. EKBHOY on 10TH JUNE 2021 3:02 PM

     

     

     

    ‘even our own lot can stop talking in doom laden tones to keep themselves relevant …’

     

     

    ###

     

     

    He’s being honest and realistic, which is what you want in a pundit. It’s churlish to criticise him for it.

  6. Stebhoy……..

     

     

    I think that might win them a few friends, on the evidence so far they could work on their sense of humour………..I’ve long thought that was as much a factor in our values than our rebelliousness.

     

     

    I’m no’ sure I’d want to share a pint wi’ them…….but then I doubt they’d want to share one with me either.

     

     

    :)))))))

     

     

    HH

  7. Fàilte roimh Ange.

     

     

    Major rebuilding task ahead so let’s get behind the new manager

     

     

    🇳🇬🍀💚🍀🇳🇬

  8. Big Jimmy

     

    Apologies, I won’t be able to make the Beer Call tomorrow due to other commitments. I’m sure you will enjoy regardless. Hope to catch up soon, Fan Zones permitting.

     

    HH

  9. It was said that Howe shouldn’t be allowed to choose his DoF as the DoF chooses the manager.

     

     

    So where is the DoF? will signings be made before he arrives? Is AP going to be the kind of coach he can work with or will we be appointing a DoF to suit the coach – something we said shouldn’t happen.

  10. CaddingtonCommon on

    Chris Sutton is entitled to his comments like anyone else including those posters who are critical of the current appointment.

     

    As far as Radio Scotland is concerned, turn the sound down rather than listening to their spiteful drivel and posting said drivel on this Celtic site,

     

    Hail Hail

     

    Stay Safe

  11. Bankiebhoy1 – having drinks with the GB would be…….you buy them 9 pints , followed by 4 triple shots – but thats not good enough.

     

     

    Looking forward to big Ange – if we recruit better , he will get them playing!

  12. Big Jimmy

     

    Just catching up, and now seen the call off of the Beer Call! Take care, till next time.

     

    HH

  13. Jocks Immortal Lions on

    Welcome to Celtic AP and the best of luck to you . Watched the program on utube “the age of Ange” was quite impressed. He has a difficult task but I’m quietly optimistic. HH

  14. SENTILCELTS.

     

    Where posters tell it as it is and are not critised for giving an opinion.

  15. St Tams

     

     

     

    You sure about that?

     

     

    It’s a lovely site but some of us have read it and it doesn’t, despite the best efforts of its founders, live up to that claim at all.

     

     

    Of course there will be criticism and disagreement. If there’s not, then a blog is just a dogma echo chamber

  16. GuyFawkesaforeverhero on

    St Tams on 10th June 2021 3:51PM

     

     

    Your sentence reads as a criticism of CQN posters expressing an opinion.

     

     

    As you bring up the blog, on Sentinel Celts will the New Breed Celtic Supporters Club provide members with a map and a compass to find the park when the club has stopped disappointing them?

  17. ……..ne’er mind the spellin’

     

    feel the swearin’!

     

     

    :))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

  18. Welcome to Celtic Ange.

     

    I wish you lots of luck and every success.

     

    Special prize to the first fan who can come up with a song we can sing with his name in it. 😎

  19. Welcome to Celtic, Ange. Just in time for the biggest rebuilding job we’ve had in years due to a combination of stagnation and complacency riven through the club hierarchy for the past two years from the board, through management, to the players. I’m glad to see Celtic appointing a dynamic and energetic manager just when we need it most, now he needs to be supported by others who will share his approach and make sure it catches fire.

     

     

    So what do we need, assuming the player we think are leaving. High priority positions are first team starters in central defence, right back, and striker. Three players ready to come in and play from the start of the season.

     

     

    Lower priority but still important, left back, attacking left mid, and backup defender. Could probably do with adding some backup squad players too, most pertinently in midfield.

     

     

    I still think we have the guts of a good team, need to build on that and provide the necessary motivation and coaching which was missing last year. However the turnover of players this summer is a real chaos factor together with a new manager trying to drastically change a team’s playing style, attitude and application. Good luck, Ange!

  20. SQUIRE DANAHER on 10TH JUNE 2021 1:36 PM

     

    BIG JIMMY on 10TH JUNE 2021 1:29 PM

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Depending on what your blood tests are for – and that’s none of my business – if your blood is too thick then a wee 🍻 tomorrow would thin the blood down for testing on Monday.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Just sayin……

     

    ……………..

     

    Ive suffered serious Blood loss and Two Heart Attack since October 2019.

     

    I have another couple of ongoing ” ailments”.

     

    I also take Blood Thinners, and I am very Anemic…apparently.

     

    Apart from the above…Im fine.

     

    HH Mate.

  21. SETTING FREE THE BEARS FOR RES. 12 & OSCAR KNOX on 10TH JUNE 2021 2:54 PM

     

    Big Jimmy

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I saw your cancellation post- Hope you get a time further down the road, where this can happen.

     

    …………….

     

    Cheers mate, Im obviously happy that you saw my cancellation posts.

     

    Hopefully, it be re arranged for Two/Three weeks time ?

     

    Again my apologises to yourself and anyone else.

     

    HH

  22. rpmcelticfan on

    neilbhoy on 10th June 2021 4:03 pm

     

     

     

    Welcome to Celtic Ange.

     

     

     

     

    I wish you lots of luck and every success.

     

     

     

     

    Special prize to the first fan who can come up with a song we can sing with his name in it. 😎

     

    ……… Its Postacoglu we,ll sing a song to :)

  23. spikeysauldman on

    Imagine some of the folk on here if we took this long…

     

     

    Pedro sacked – 25 October 2017

     

    McInnes KB 7 December

     

    Gerrard signs 4 May 2018

     

     

    191 days

  24. celticforever on

    ANG’s job interview :-

     

     

    CELTIC BOARD : Where were you born ANG

     

     

    ANG: I was born in Athens so I am ATHENIAN

     

     

    CELTIC BOARD: The job is yours

     

     

    I will get my coat

  25. rpmcelticfan on

    So we,ll drink a drink an drink to Ange the Greek the Greek the Greek , the savior of our hopeless case , for he is Athenian but soon be a Fenian an then we all will celebrate …..

  26. JHB on 10TH JUNE 2021 1:54 PM

     

    …………

     

    Utter BOLLOCKS from you yet again.

     

    Are YOU SERIOUSLY saying that the ONLY Fan Zones in England will ONLY be in London ?

     

     

    1) Football village in Potters Field Park…is that in London ?

     

    2) Secret Space in Digbeth….BIRMINGHAM.

     

    I can only ASSUME that NUMEROUS other towns and cities in England will ALSO have fan Zones…not just London ?

     

     

    Englands 3rd game v Czechs, and also IF they reach the semi finals etc…will have 9,500 Fans in Trafalgar Square. that game is ON 22nd June….ONLY 3 DAYS after ONLY 750 fans are allowed in for game v Scotland on Friday NIGHT 18th June..or .just under Four days, or just over three days however you can spin it….

     

     

    Those THREE Days will make ALL the difference with COVID…Im sure ?

  27. Oor Ange it is then. I think he’ll be a significant improvement on what we have had.

     

     

    This from “The Athletic”:

     

     

    —–

     

     

    ‘We thought nothing was impossible under Postecoglou’: Celtic’s new uncompromising, ‘visionary’ manager

     

     

     

    By Kieran Devlin 7h ago 24

     

    “What I loved most about him was his storytelling,” Thomas Broich tells The Athletic.

     

     

    Celtic’s new manager Ange Postecoglou had recruited the German playmaker from FC Nurnberg seven months into his record-breaking Brisbane Roar tenure in 2010. Broich would become the fulcrum of his two title-winning Brisbane sides; and after retiring in 2017, is widely considered one of the best players in A-league history.

     

     

    “When we first started our journey,” Broich continues, “at the beginning of our time at Brisbane Roar, he was talking about the road less travelled. He was able to make it captivating and exciting for us. He always said, ‘If we do things the way that other teams have done before, we might be able to be successful, but we would be a copy of others’.

     

     

    “His approach was to try something entirely different, which caused a lot of uncertainty. There were setbacks, and it was scary at times, but he always said, ‘If we stick to that, and develop, and believe in our mission, who knows what we can achieve?’”

     

     

    Invoking Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken with such enthusiastic panache might resemble the inspirational speech in the final act of a 1990s sports film. But this a miraculous underdog story rooted in fact not fiction.

     

     

    “We ended up being the most successful team in the sporting history of Australia,” Broich, now a German football pundit, says matter-of-factly. “Unbeaten in 36 games, in a competition with a salary cap, with a bunch of nobodies.

     

     

    “Through that approach, through his storytelling, he created an atmosphere where we thought nothing was impossible.”

     

     

    Postecoglou’s headline achievements are well-documented.

     

     

    With Brisbane Roar he won consecutive A-League championships in 2010-11 and then 2011-12, and consecutive qualifications to the Asian Champions League. He won Australia their first-ever Asian Cup in 2015, all while overseeing the transition from their golden generation into a much younger, inexperienced outfit, and playing a brand of thrilling football that got them to the last World Cup in Russia. Having been threatened by relegation in their 2018 season, Postecoglou won the J1 League with Japanese side Yokohama F. Marinos in 2019 — their first title in 15 years.

     

     

    But Postecoglou also had a decorated managerial career preceding the 2010s.

     

     

    He emigrated from Greece to Australia with his family in 1970. In a 2015 documentary about Postecoglou, The Age Of Ange, his sister Liz describes him as being a football “sponge” when he was younger. He absorbed every piece of information and knowledge available to a working-class immigrant family in the Melbourne suburbs, particularly reading every football magazine he could get hold of.

     

     

     

    He spent his entire playing career at South Melbourne, first as a youth player and then as a professional between 1978 and 1993. South Melbourne was the local team supported, and to this day is still supported, by Melbourne’s Greek population, so the fanbase felt a natural affinity with their captain. Flaunting a fabulous mullet and moustache combo, he was named captain at age 21. He helped them win the National Soccer League (NSL) title in 1984 and 1991 — the latter with legendary Hungarian player Ferenc Puskas as manager. He retired in his late 20s because of injury and assumed the club’s head coach role three years later.

     

     

    Sebastian Hassett is an Australian football journalist who extensively covered Postecoglou’s career, and highlights that he actually won two titles before the NSL was reformed as the A-League in 2004. In 1998 and 1999, Postecoglou won consecutive championships with South Melbourne, and even pitted wits against Alex Ferguson’s all-conquering, treble-winning Manchester United in the 1999 Club World Cup, losing 2-0.

     

     

    “It speaks to the difference in understanding between the A-League and the National Soccer League that Ange Postecoglou’s first two titles are his most overlooked,” Hassett tells The Athletic, “yet who else began their professional coaching journey at 31 and was a two-time national champion by the age of 34?

     

     

    “Postecoglou always despised how the arrival of the A-League seemed to diminish the achievements of the NSL, and when it was put to him that back-to-back Brisbane Roar titles made him a two-time champion coach, he insisted — rightfully — that he be considered a four-time national champion.

     

     

    “That stance kicked off a wider conversation in Australia about recognising all statistics in the NSL as equal to the A-League, leading the governing body to formally change their position. It was a stirring example of his principles in action.”

     

     

    Those four titles combined make him the most successful manager in the history of Australia’s top flight, but his spells at South Melbourne and Brisbane Roar book-end nine years out of the relative limelight; at least compared to the prodigious success of his early 30s and 40s.

     

     

    He spent seven years in charge of Australia’s youth teams, before being sacked after a poor run of results. His reputation was at a nadir, and he spent one strange half-season in charge of third-tier Greek side Panachaiki in 2008. He left in December 2008 even though the club were still one of the favourites for promotion, after falling out with the hierarchy. Prior to his arrival at Celtic, that is his only venture into European football and makes for a curious adjunct in the span of his career.

     

     

    He returned to management in Australia with Brisbane in October 2009, after their coach Frank Farina had been sacked following a drink-driving charge.

     

     

    The job involved the first major team overhaul of his career. “Undoubtedly his management career featured several moments where he had to rebuild squads from scratch,” Hassett says. “He did it most famously in Brisbane, and the method by which he let the club’s biggest names go — led by Craig Moore, Charlie Miller, Bob Malcolm and Danny Tiatto — became the stuff of legend.

     

     

    “It wasn’t that those guys weren’t successful; they’d very nearly won the title the year before under Farina. But under Farina, the players had a big say in training, tactics and lifestyle and Postecoglou wasn’t having any of that. The goalkeeper of that time, Liam Reddy, once said that being under Postecoglou was like ‘going to the dentist’, a conflict that led to his own exit. It was like nothing we’d seen before in Australian football.

     

     

    “He was prepared to be unpopular. And once the remaining players accepted that, they backed him all the way. Ironically, all those players he let go speak glowingly of Postecoglou today. Postecoglou even hired Moore in a player-liaison role for the 2014 World Cup. But Postecoglou was prepared to stop at nothing in his quest to play football at the highest level.”

     

     

    If you are reading this thinking, “that’s all well and good, Kieran, but this ‘highest level’ stuff is just an abstract concept which every idealistic manager promises but never delivers”, you are not alone. Broich was initially in the same boat.

     

     

    Broich Postecoglou Celtic

     

    Broich won two A-League titles with Postecoglou’s Brisbane Roar in 2011 and, above, 2012 (Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

     

    “At first he is a very visionary man,” Broich describes, “in that he outlines his plans and playing philosophy. As a player you think, ‘I’ve heard these things before. They’re just pretty words’. But when I actually got to work with him, he delivered to the extreme. I could not believe it. With him, it was not just words. He had such a crystal-clear plan, and he stuck to every single word of it.

     

     

    “He was very uncompromising with players in pursuit of a beautiful and aggressive style of football. We were not allowed to deviate from that plan, to the point where he got very frustrated with players who couldn’t do it exactly.

     

     

    “At the start, when teams were pressing us with seven, eight players, we thought there was no way we could play out from the back through that kind of pressure. Yet he stuck with it. He was demanding and driven. He used lots of video analysis, and he could pinpoint our mistakes. He was gradually improving us. To him, it didn’t matter that it didn’t work straight away, it was about those incremental improvements.

     

     

    “After a while, as players, we felt that this might actually work. It took a while to really develop that kind of belief, but then you actually anticipate success. At the beginning, it was hard for us to play through that pressure, and although we had a lot of the ball, we weren’t dangerous going forward. But he kept adding layer after layer, and for two years he kept improving us.”

     

     

    Brisbane’s eventual success was not just down to Postecoglou’s building a collective identity, however; he improved individual players too.

     

     

    “That is one of the things I admired the most about him,” Broich says, “that he was able to make every single player better, in every single session. Whether that was on the training pitch, or in video analysis, or just in life generally.”

     

     

    Asked for an example of individual coaching from his own career with Postecoglou, Broich enthuses: “There are so many! He helped me in terms of moving in space, finding those little pockets, getting into those areas in-between where the opposition marks you. He was so determined to work on my turn when I received the ball. He wasn’t about having a safe first touch, sometimes even a touch towards our own goal, he wasn’t having any of that.

     

     

    “He was forcing me to constantly scan for the next pass, and to turn with my first touch, even though this might feel uncomfortable because we are taught differently when we are younger. But after many attempts, after many intricate rotations on the training pitch, he helped me find space, and then he taught me how to make the most use of that space. How to quickly get into a penetrating position.”

     

     

    After two-and-a-half seasons in Brisbane, Postecoglou was “agitating for something different”, so returned to his hometown with Melbourne Victory, where he began his second major rebuild. Eight players were moved on, including Harry Kewell, and eight were brought in. Victory made the A-League preliminary finals that season, but did not replicate the heights of his Brisbane side, and eventually, the national team came calling in October 2013 with an opportunity too good to turn down despite his Victory project going unfinished.

     

     

    His Brisbane side were known as “Roarcelona”. But even if it was a corny pun, it was not unfounded. Postecoglou brought in a possession-heavy philosophy that emulated Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona. Although many clubs tried to emulate the Catalan giants a decade ago, Hassett insists there is substance to this parallel.

     

     

    “What makes him so revered tactically is how his sides utilise and weaponise possession,” he clarifies. “He trains his players to manipulate position and space in such a way that the opponent’s defensive structure is gradually broken down and then exploited. You may have seen it compared to Pep Guardiola and the mutual respect between the pair is obvious — not least because, until now, they both worked inside the City Football Group network (Yokohama F. Marinos are part of CFG).

     

     

    “It wasn’t until 2009 that the football world saw the extent of what Guardiola was doing at Barcelona, barely a year later Postecoglou was implementing an uncannily similar way of playing on the other side of the world. A different level of football, certainly, but nor did Postecoglou have access to a fraction of the talent.”

     

     

    Postecoglou returned to club football in December 2017, with Yokohama F. Marinos; after a difficult first season in which they avoided a relegation play-off on goal difference, he turned them into ceaselessly-offensive J1 champions. He never wavered in his own self-belief. In that debut season, when he was coming under heavy criticism for his results, Postecoglou commented in a press conference: “I enjoy the bits when maybe there is a little bit of doubt and people do question the way I do things.

     

     

    “Every day, we live and breathe this football. So that, in situations like today, the players know no other way. They’re not going to be affected by pressure, they’re not going to be affected by conceding a goal or a red card. They only know one way, and that’s what they’ll do.”

     

     

    “Since (the Barcelona days), Guardiola has adapted a higher tempo of play,” Hassett elaborates on his comparison, “predominantly to cope with English football, whereas Postecoglou’s side in Yokohama moved to an even more dominant style than was seen in Brisbane. The technical level of the players allowed him to do this and some of their play, frankly, was breathtaking.

     

     

    “At Celtic, I think Postecoglou will evolve again. I expect he will follow Guardiola’s lead in terms of tempo and movement. But the fundamentals will stay the same: dominate the ball, play with an attacking mindset and look to overwhelm the opponent.

     

     

    “I have no hesitation in saying Brisbane were the best Australian team I’ve seen, by some margin. No team so comprehensively changed the way we, as a football nation, watched and thought about the game.

     

     

    “My only regret is that for all his impact, we only saw three years of his week-to-week coaching in the A-League before he went to the national team.”

     

     

    For many, it was his four years at Australia which elevated Postecoglou to greatness, with some arguing he is the national team’s greatest ever manager.

     

     

    But what precisely made his Australia so great? What propelled that Asian Cup win?

     

     

    Although his Socceroos adopted his all-out attacking philosophy, Hassett outlines how important his ruthlessness was in co-ordinating the transition from one generation to another; the international equivalent of a club squad rebuild.

     

     

    Himself an Australia international with four caps, in 2013 Postecoglou inherited a golden generation in their twilight years. The likes of Tim Cahill, Kewell and Mark Schwarzer had been pillars of the national team for a decade since their 2006 success story of reaching the last-16 of the World Cup and then running eventual winners Italy close, only losing 1-0. But as a collective, they were in visible decline by the time Postecoglou took charge. They suffered two consecutive 6-0 defeats to France and Brazil just before he came in.

     

     

    “That squad was dominated by a raft of veterans, many of whom exuded control over the happenings of the national team,” Hassett explains, “and who believed their status to be nigh on untouchable following previous successes.

     

     

    “Despite that ageing squad qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, when Postecoglou was given the opportunity to implement change, he didn’t hold back. He dispensed with nearly all the veteran players — bar a select few — and sent a generation of youngsters to the World Cup.”

     

     

    Postecoglou Australia Celtic

     

    As Australia coach, Postecoglou won the 2015 Asian Cup and, above, qualified for the 2018 World Cup finals (Photo: Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

     

    Using analysis tools such as Wyscout, Postecoglou began looking at eligible players across the world himself, rather than delegating the job to his backroom staff. He wanted to judge these players first-hand, flying to England to call up Massimo Luongo, then of third division Swindon Town. Throughout his career, he has prided himself on giving youth opportunities to perform, of finding, platforming and refining “diamonds in the rough”.

     

     

    Former Celtic and current Hibernian player Jackson Irvine was another young player who thrived under Postecoglou, though he received his first call-up in September 2013, a month before Postecoglou became his manager. Irvine waxed lyrical about his former manager on the Scottish football multimedia outlet Open Goal earlier this year, coincidentally before any communication between Celtic and Postecoglou became public knowledge.

     

     

    “Ange Postecoglou was an amazing, unbelievable coach,” Irvine said. “He ended up falling out, it became a bit of a mess at the end but, as a coach, he was top notch. The way he was asking us to play was hectic. The year before the World Cup was the Confederations Cup. We’d won the Asian Cup before, so we didn’t play that. We played Germany, Cameroon and Chile at the Confeds. This was (Marcelo) Bielsa’s Chile, by the way. We played that man for man style and went toe-to-toe with these teams, it was mental. Then we qualified (for the 2018 World Cup) and he walked away.”

     

     

    Postecoglou openly admitted that his focus was “geared” around winning the Asian Cup, and that the 2014 World Cup was effectively a glorified pre-season or Confederations Cup. It was preparation for inexperienced young players — the talismanic Cahill aside — against some of the world’s best sides, an opportunity to trial his strategy and style in a competitive context.

     

     

    “He asked them to focus primarily on adopting his possession-based approach,” Hassett recalls, “which they did admirably even under duress. Although the results weren’t there — they lost all three group matches to Chile (Bielsa), the Netherlands (Louis van Gaal) and Spain (Vicente del Bosque) — the players grew confidence in the system.

     

     

    “By the time of the Asian Cup six months later, the philosophy was deeply rooted in the players’ minds, and despite lacking the big-name stars of previous campaigns, they emerged triumphant on home soil. The 2015 Asian Cup is one of Australia’s greatest sporting triumphs, and was won on the strength of the new generation of players he promoted after very little renewal in the previous decade.”

     

     

    Australia beat South Korea 2-1 in the final, with Luongo scoring a screamer for the opener. South Korea equalised through a young Son Heung-min strike in stoppage time, but Postecoglou’s dogmatic approach to fitness helped a still-relatively fresh Australia take the initiative in extra-time, with James Troisi scoring the winner.

     

     

    “As well he did with the national team,” Hassett says, “it did feel as though he left prematurely. I wish he’d taken the team to the 2018 World Cup, but he didn’t feel he had the backing of the management to chase the bolder and broader vision he ultimately wanted to build towards.”

     

     

    It is then not just Postecoglou’s tactical mind that makes him a venerated coach; he has the strength of personality and man-management to complement his footballing philosophies and training ground innovations.

     

     

    “He’s multi-dimensional, and no critic, player, administrator or fan will understand that until they spend time with him,” Hassett argues. “Some may think he is distant or aloof, but I would say he’s simply uninterested in winning over anyone who doubts him.”

     

     

    He is not talkative, and not the kind of manager who will try to be a player’s friend, an arm-around-the-shoulder type. In The Age Of Ange, his wife Georgia sardonically described him as “not charismatic or a charmer”, while Cahill talked about how Postecoglou will be largely silent on the training ground but, as a player, you still feel his eyes “burning into the back of your head”.

     

     

     

     

    “There’s a kind of (NFL coaching legend) Vince Lombardi-like echo to his journey,” Hassett expands, “a man who had to wait his turn but soon became a manic winner on the back of principles and performance. Neither suffered fools gladly.”

     

     

    What he does have, as Broich attests to, is a tireless and fiercely loyal devotion to his charges; both as footballers and as young men.

     

     

    “He was a mentor to a lot of players. He helped them, not just football-wise, but in how to approach their lives, their jobs,” Broich clarifies. “He can be very distant, and he is not your buddy. He never was. But at the same time, he cared about you so much, and his sole goal is to make you better as a player and as a person. That makes for a great manager, constantly pushing you to be better. But that has to go both ways, with players buying in.

     

     

    “He had a dry sense of humour, but it was very rare for him to joke around, or create an easy atmosphere. You know that it’s hard work out there. It’s not about kidding around, every single minute is hard work. But the joy comes through all those little accomplishments of improving as players and as a team.”

     

     

    Asked to provide an anecdote that captures that passion and dedication, Hassett recalls an incident when Postecoglou spent nine hours driving across Germany in 2010 to get “the signature of a disillusioned playmaker he had his eye on for many months”.

     

     

    That player was Broich, who Hassett describes as “arguably the finest player in A-League history, and a centrepiece of both of Postecoglou’s championship-winning sides.”

     

     

    “He was scouting through Europe at the time,” Broich recalls, “I think he was in Belgium, and drove all those hours to sit down with me for an hour, and he convinced me to come. Then he drove all the way back! He showed real dedication.”

     

     

    A Bundesliga footballer, a former Germany international, deciding to up sticks to the A-League while still in their peak years at 29 was unheard of. “Postecoglou had a brief window to get the deal done and to convince Broich to give up the Bundesliga,” Hassett says, “for a club who he had just taken charge of and had not yet won a trophy. It speaks to a fierce resolve to get the right outcome.”

     

     

    Much has been made of Postecoglou’s success all occurring outside European football; some of it valid scepticism, plenty of it patronising guff, some of it borderline xenophobia.

     

     

    The overwhelming majority of non-European managers at either top-five-league teams or those competing in either UEFA club competition are South American. Yet many invested observers, not only in Postecoglou’s homeland, but in Asia, North and Central America, and Africa, will be monitoring his Celtic story closely. His succeeding in Glasgow might not represent anything as dramatic as a breakthrough for coaches from these oft-ignored regions, but it would signify progress, and erode that instinct for condescension even marginally.

     

     

    But succeeding at Celtic is a seriously imposing task. There will be immense pressure to reverse the club’s current decline, and even accounting for the copious squad management problems, there will not be much sympathy if he does not adapt quickly.

     

     

    While the colossal rebuild facing him this summer could well turn out to be his most difficult overhaul to date, he has both the experience and force of personality to navigate it better than most. “Postecoglou is carved from the sternest stuff,” insists Hassett, “five national league championships with three different clubs and Asia’s biggest trophy should make that clear. That doesn’t happen by accident.”

     

     

    Hassett highlights Brendan Rodgers’ first competitive game as Celtic manager, the infamous Champions League qualification first-leg defeat to Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar. Rather than fold under that humiliation, Rodgers stood steadfast in his philosophy and approach to the game, and Celtic adjusted and improved quickly, before finishing that season with a treble, unbeaten in all domestic competitions.

     

     

    “There’s a sharp lesson for Postecoglou: if the mission gets derailed early on, the key is to rebound quickly,” says Hassett. “Rodgers chalked up the wins thereafter and with that came the license to fully build out his vision of an expansive, possession-based style.”

     

     

    Broich ardently believes that Postecoglou can be a success here in Europe: “I believe in him. Looking at his successes, it’s based on a deep, deep understanding of the game, and of the psyche of players.

     

     

    “We all know that sometimes it can be difficult in European environments, in terms of pressure and expectation, so there is no guarantee of success. But I can tell you I have worked in German football for a long time as a player, as a coach, and as an expert. To me personally, to this day, he is the best manager I have ever encountered in football.”

     

     

    There are doubts of course. There has been a drop-off with Yokohama since their title win. They finished ninth in the coronavirus-affected 2020 season and currently sit third this campaign, 21 points behind the leaders — albeit with five games in hand. He lost also his final game on Wednesday — a cup tie against fourth-tier opposition.

     

     

    There is the accusation that he left the Australia national team with a half-finished job, qualifying for the 2018 World Cup but then not leading the team he had built into the tournament itself. That even his most successful sides tend to concede a fair number of goals, such is the riskiness of his attacking zealotry, is another red flag.

     

     

    It is not a flawless track record, but there are few managers who can profess to own one; particularly in the market where Celtic shop.

     

     

    Postecoglou has plenty of honours, but perhaps his most convincing credentials are not trophies: the enthusiasm of those players and staff who worked with him, the fervour of fans who watched his teams. If his devotion to relentless attacking football teeters towards madness, discussions with those who know him illustrate that there is method there too.

     

     

    Compared to Eddie Howe, Roy Keane, Chris Wilder and many other members of the British and Irish manager cavalcade perpetually linked with the job, Postecoglou represents Celtic’s road less travelled.

     

     

    With the first-team squad in complete disarray, he will already be starting at a severe disadvantage, and it might not pan out for either him or the club, but he has a hell of a career behind him suggesting it just might.

     

     

    If the stars do align and he is both backed in the transfer market and afforded time to institute his ideas — it might just be spectacular.

     

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