ANGE POSTECOGLOU admitted Celtic were “a ticking clock” when he took over as manager in June last year.

The 56-year-old Greek-Australian was given the nod as Neil Lennon’s long-term successor after the Hoops failed in their three-month pursuit of original choice Eddie Howe.

Postecoglou maintained his focus when he arrived in Scotland from J-League outfit Yokohama F Marinos and acknowledged he had to turn things around as swiftly as possible.

He inherited a depleted squad with the likes of Scott Brown and Olivier Ntcham already through the exit with Odsonne Edouard, Kristoffer Ajer and Ryan Christie about to join them before the August transfer deadline.

ON THE CREST OF A WAVE…Ange Postecoglou greets the Celtic support.

The new gaffer, however, didn’t hesitate as he kicked off one of the biggest rebuilding tasks in the club’s history with TWELVE players arriving in summer and five more in January.

It has been an extraordinary transformation made even more remarkable by the fact the club have already won the first domestic trophy of the season in the Premier Sports League Cup after being Hibs 2-1 in December and they now face Dundee United in the Scottish Cup quarter-final at Tannadice next month.

Celtic failed by a ridiculous 25 points to achieve their quest for an unprecedented tenth successive title in the previous campaign, but now sit at the Premiership pinnacle by a point with 12 league games to go.

Asked how he managed the astounding feat, Postecoglou answered: “It’s nothing too unique. Any manager who gets a job is usually going in because things haven’t gone too well.

“You rarely pick it up when a team is flying. That part of it I understood. Every role I’ve taken I’ve taken when it needed some sort of new direction and I’m comfortable in that space.

“I kind of knew what I was heading into. Coming into a season when they hadn’t won anything, it’s very easy to say it’s a league they should dominate.

SCREEN STAR…Ange Postecoglou talks to reporters on Australian sports show.

“But at the same time when you’ve come off a season when you’ve won nothing…when it happens at a club like Manchester United there needs to be a massive reaction.

“I kind of knew the magnitude of what I needed to do. It’s been pretty good so far and I’ve had tremendous support from the fans and good support from within the football club to take it in the direction I want to.

“But I kind of knew there was a ticking clock against me to get it right as soon as we possibly could.

“People thought I was worried about my own tenure, but it wasn’t just for me – I just knew a football club can’t go two seasons without success.

“It just can’t happen, so I knew I had to get it right this first year and we’ve won a trophy, we’re doing okay in the league and we’re still in Europe.

“We got through the Scottish Cup, so we’re doing okay, mate, but we’ve still got plenty to do.”

Postecoglou, speaking to Australian media outlet Stan Sport, continued: “I’ve often said I could go into a shop with my wife and she’ll know exactly what to pick and buy – I’ve got no idea!

SNOWED UNDER…Ange Postecoglou grins and bears it at Lennoxtown.

“When I go looking for players, I’m the same. I’ve got a real clear idea. When I see what I want I picture them in my team and when they fit that picture most of the time it works.

“It comes back to the first thing is that I have absolute clarity about how I want my team to play.

“What quality each player should have in each position and that should make it easier for the players, as well, because they’ve already got some of the things I’m looking for so their adjustment period becomes quicker.

“The players I’ve brought in have hit the ground running and people ask why so quickly, but it’s because I already know they’ve got the attributes I’m looking for and the rest is just understanding the gameplay.

“In terms of the Japanese players, it was about treating them as individuals because sometimes those stereotypical things we think about in life in general don’t ring true and the four boys I’ve brought over are totally different people and different types of players.”

Postecoglou will now take his eye off the domestic scene as he prepares his new-look squad for Thursday night’s Europa Conference League first leg tie against the Norwegians of Bodo/Glimt.

Dundee are due in the east end of Glasgow on Sunday afternoon and then the Hoops fly to Norway for the second leg four days later.


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