ANGE POSTECOGLOU is following in the giant footsteps of Celtic’s legendary manager Jock Stein.
The 57-year-old Greek-Australian gaffer has now won back-to-back titles with the 2-0 victory over Hearts at Tynecastle yesterday.
That emulated the feat of May 11 last year when the Hoops drew 1-1 with Dundee United at Tannadice to claim the coveted silverware in Postecoglou’s debut campaign after inheriting a shambles from the previous term.
ME AND MY SHADOW…Ange Postecoglou addresses the Celtic fans in the midst of the Jock Stein statue outside the front doors at Parkhead.
The team’s bid for a historic tenth successive flag ended in the rubble of football’s lost dreams following a wretched season-long performance with the bid blown shortly after the turn of the year. Neil Lennon had departed the manager’s chair by the time the side limped in 25 points off the pace.
Postecoglou had created a title-winning team from the wreckage of the previous crusade.
Back in March 1965, Stein took over as Celtic boss from the club’s goalscoring legend Jimmy McGrory. The team were in the doldrums and the last time they had completed a term at the pinnacle of the old First Division was in 1954.
Big Jock turned things around with mesmerising speed and a bunch of no-hopers were suddenly transformed into the best team in Scotland.
His first two title wins – just like Postecoglou – were achieved away from home.
HIGH AND MIGHTY…Jock Stein is about to be carried on the shoulders of Bobby Murdoch and Billy McNeill after the 2-0 win over Kilmarnock at Parkhead on May 15 1967 that brought down the curtain on a second successive title-winning campaign. Ten days later Celtic would lift the European Cup.
In fact, not one of the team’s history-making nine crowns in succession was achieved at Parkhead.
The nearest was a ‘home’ game against Ayr United at Hampden during renovation work at Celtic Park in 1971.
So, that’s two down and seven to go for Postecoglou if he hopes to follow the iconic Stein into Celtic folklore!
For the record, Jock Stein’s nine in a row came in this sequence:
Motherwell 0 CELTIC 1
Fir Park 1966
Rangers 2 CELTIC 2
Dunfermline 1 CELTIC 2
East End Park 1968
Kilmarnock 2 CELTIC 2
Rugby Park 1969
Hearts 0 CELTIC 0
CELTIC 2 Ayr United 0
East Fife 0 CELTIC 3
Hibs 0 CELTIC 3
Easter Road 1973
Falkirk 1 CELTIC 1