MARTIN O’NEILL is hoping Ange Postecoglou does NOT following his Euro example.
The legendary former Celtic manager won three titles in his five-year stint at Parkhead after his arrival from Leicester City in the summer of 2000.
However, the charismatic Irishman, now 70, could not lead the Hoops through the group stages after making the attempt on three separate occasions.
Postecoglou tasted failure in three Euro competitions in his first season after toppling out of the Champions League at the first qualifying hurdle in July, then exiting the Europa League group stages despite three wins in six games and then the Conference League knock-out from the Norwegians of Bodo Glimt.
PAIN IN SPAIN…Martin O’Neill and his dejected players acknowledge the Celtic supporters after the extra-time loss to Porto in the UEFA Cup Final in Seville in 2003.
O’Neill, who masterminded the team’s passage to the UEFA Cup Final in Seville in 2003, said: “I believe that Celtic’s problems in Europe this season can be addressed.
“Going straight into the group stage of the Champions League will be a massive help in every respect, particularly on the financial side, and I think they probably need to strengthen the playing side if they’re going to get out of their group.
“That’s very difficult in itself, but there’s absolutely no doubt that Celtic can improve in Europe.
“Now that Celtic have got things up and running, the manager has got control of the football side of things and is doing really well there’s no reason why they can’t contest it.
“Of course, if they go into the Champions League this year the likelihood is that they’ll be third or fourth seeds so they’ll have at least two formidable opponents above them, but that shouldn’t be a big concern – it’s about being in there, first of all.”
EURO HEADACHE…Ange Postecoglou watched Celtic lose to Bayer Leverkusen and Bodo Glimt in Glasgow.
Reflecting on Postecoglou’s debut campaign at his old club, O’Neill, speaking to The Herald, continued: “I think his experience last season will be great for him.
“And maybe even being knocked out of Europe by Bodo Glimt when it happened was also a good thing for him because it meant that Rangers were playing a lot more games than they were.
“That happened to us in 2003. We played 60 games to Rangers’ 50 and lost the UEFA Cup Final to Porto while they won the domestic treble. Even then, we only lost the league by one goal.
“But Ange has now had a wee bit of European experience and now he’s into the real thing. All the signs are decent that they should finally make some progress in Europe.
“The players have good belief now. I absolutely accept now that stepping into the Champions League is something else, it really is something else. Even if you are playing at home with 60,000 people roaring you on, it is still difficult. We always found the matches difficult, really difficult to play.
PARADISE…Ange Postecoglou applauds the Celtic support after the 4-1 win over Hearts at Parkhead.
“But I think his own experiences this year are going to stand him in really good stead. He will be a fella who will relish the challenges in Europe now that he has got something under his belt, as it were.”
O’Neill added: “When he was approaching this year I am sure that he thought deep down that domestically this is what I want to try and do, try and be strong and Europe will follow. He has got this opportunity.”
“These are learning curves and now that he has this attacking – and I hate the word – philosophy going then the last thing you want is to lose that. But you also need a bit of pragmatism.
“It’s just normal things. If you’re playing some of the best teams and you go gung-ho, then you’ll leave gaps which top quality players can take advantage of.”