ANGE POSTECOGLOU got his hands on the European Cup at Celtic Park – almost THREE DECADES before he took over as team manager.
A new biography of the Greek-Australian displays previously unseen images of the ex-boss touring Paradise with a friend in 1993.
There is one intriguing snap of Postecoglou and his chum, Steve Blair, posing with a replica of the silverware that was won in Lisbon on May 25 1967 when Jock Stein’s team became the first UK side to conquer Europe.
The former Australia World Cup chief arrived in an official capacity at Parkhead in June 2021 as the successor to Neil Lennon in the fall-out of the wretched campaign that saw the Hoops limp home without a trophy for the first time in 11 years.
PARADISE…Ange Postecoglou with his friend Steve Blair and a replica of the European Cup during his visit to Celtic Park in 1993.
Postecoglou, at the age of 56, arrived from Yokohama F Marinos, hit the ground running, revamped the playing squad and put the team back on track.
Five honours in two whirlwind seasons, including a world record eighth treble, brought envious glances from across the border and after a year of being linked with the likes of Everton, Brighton, Southampton and Leeds United, the fans’ favourite said an abrupt farewell only 48 hours after the Scottish Cup Final triumph on June 3.
Spurs succeeded where others failed and lured Postecoglou from Glasgow to London which opened the door for a dramatic return for Brendan Rodgers for a second stint at Parkhead.
In the new publication, entitled ‘Revolution – Ange Postecoglou: The Man, The Methods and The Mastery’, his friend Steve Blair, a former team-mate Down Under, revealed his personal collection for use in the book.
It was the lifelong Celtic fan who took Big Ange to the stadium during a holiday in Glasgow 28 years before he took charge of the team.
In a chapter devoted to Blair’s attempts to guide his pal towards all things Celtic, the ex-South Melbourne and Socceroos centre-half, whose family emigrated when he was 12, said: “That first visit to Celtic Park, we would have been in our 20s.
THE LAST HURRAH…Ange Postecoglou holds aloft the newly-won silverware to the celebrating Celtic supporters at Hampden after the 3-1 Scottish Cup Final triumph on June 3.
“Who would have predicted what would happen 25, 30 years on? Ange was such a lover of the game. Crowds, players, they all excited him. That’s why we did the tour.
“But we might not always agree. I was always trying to drill my love of Celtic into his head.
“He wasn’t having it! But I guess if you throw enough mud, some of it sticks. I’d say Celtic this, Celtic that — but he was fixed on Liverpool.
“He loved Kenny Dalglish as well. So, when he looked at his history, saw he’d started out at Celtic, that got him interested.
“Then finding out that both sets of fans share ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ as a sort of terracing anthem, isn’t it just amazing how this has all worked out?
“Ange could have gone to any club. But he goes to the club that’s got the ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ connection, plus the connection with Dalglish.
“Is it fate? Or just luck? Maybe it’s fate and this was meant to happen.”
Postecoglou, a left-back during his playing days, worked with Real Madrid great Ferenc Puskas during their days together at South Melbourne and, of course, led the Hoops in their Champions League encounters against the Spanish giants last season.
In the book, Blair talks extensively about the affinity between Postecoglou and Celtic, noting similarities between the club’s original fanbase and the Greek immigrants who founded South Melbourne Hellas, where Ange would serve as their captain and then manager before his international stint and move to Japan.
*Revolution – Ange Postecoglou: The Man, The Methods and The Mastery, written by John Greechan, is available to pre-order now at https://birlinn.co.uk/product/revolution.