“Even in the Champions League, Postecoglou wasn’t willing to sacrifice his principles,” Nicholas

Charlie Nicholas can’t understand anyone arguing that anyone other that the Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou should be the Manager of the Year in Scotland. Ange of course picked up the PFA Award on Sunday night and it will be interesting to see what the mainstream media sports writers decide at their own awards dinner which is still to come.

“It’s an obvious choice given that Celtic are on the brink of a treble, but Ange Postecoglou has to be the manager of the season,” the former Celtic, Arsenal and Aberdeen striker wrote in his Tuesday morning column in the Scottish Daily Express. And Charlie goes on to explain both how Ange Postecoglou’s style of management fascinates him and his admiration for the manner in which the Celtic manager has approached the Champions League this season.

“The Aussie’s effectiveness and influence at Celtic is fascinating because he isn’t known for being much of a man-manager. He doesn’t seem to be particularly close to his players,” Nicholas notes.

“But there is no doubt he has their total respect. Postecoglou keeps his distance and it works, look at what he does in the transfer market. He doesn’t just sign a player because they offer good value for money. He ensures they operate in a style that suits the way he wants the game to be played, i.e with pace, relentless energy and good technical skill.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou lifts the League Cup trophy following victory in the League Cup Final between theRangers and Celtic at Hampden Park on February 26, 2023. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“What impressed me this season was that even in the Champions League, Postecoglou wasn’t willing to sacrifice his principles. He was prepared to take on the elite of Europe. He doesn’t play a defensive game and that is so refreshing. I also share his belief that you need to go for it and test yourself against the best, otherwise you’ll always be running scared when it comes to the big occasions.

“Postecoglou is not frightened of failure and that keeps him on the front foot. Younger coaches might not be able to set up their teams in the same style, but they could learn a lot from him.

“It’s interesting that he retained the majority of the backroom staff he inherited when he was appointed at Parkhead in June 2021. They will also be getting an education working under Postecoglou. The 57-year-old has laid down the foundations at Celtic and, when he eventually moves on, those foundations will be there for his successor.”

 Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou celebrates at full time during the Heart of Midlothian v Celtic Scottish Cup match at Tynecastle Stadium on March 11, 2023 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Charlie Nicholas hits the nail in the head with these assessments and the Champions League campaign next season is going to be very interesting indeed as Celtic look to learn from this team’s first foray into that elite level of club competition where they came up just a little short mostly due to a failure to take chances. The lesson from that is clear, take your chances or you will pay a hefty price.

Ange Postecoglou seldom gets emotional in his various interviews, he did show some at Tynecastle a few weeks ago and the only other time that we can remember was after the Real Madrid game at Celtic Park when he revealed his determination to succeed at Champions League level with Celtic.

Ange celebrates Celtic’s title win at Tynecastle

And that Dead Rubber defeat at the weekend can be used to the Celtic manager’s longer term advantage as he looks at his squad and sees what he has got to work with when there are several key players sidelined. Maybe the answer to that will be ‘not quite enough’ and there may be one or two additional signings as a result.

The idea that the Dead Rubber defeat ends up making Celtic even stronger might bring a wee smile to your faces this morning.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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