Former Celtic boss backs Ange to get off to a good start

“I don’t think the gap between Rangers and Celtic is as massive as it was in my time.”

Those are words Celtic fans would never have thought they’d be listening to just a year ago, after their ninth-straight title in Scotland’s top division. Fast forward a year, and it is a far cry from where Celtic were then and are now.

Indeed, the last manager to overturn such a deficit was one of Celtic’s most successful and well-liked managers of all-time, Martin O’Neill. The Northern Irishman, who joined Celtic in 2000, left Paradise after a five year tenure; boasting seven trophies, including three Premier League titles and a UEFA Cup final. But arguably his best feat was taking over the Celtic job from John Barnes, whose laughable appointment as boss led to Rangers stealing a march in the fight for Scottish dominance.

Some players will leave – and they better. If you don’t want to play any more for Celtic then out you go.

However, O’Neill believes that the gap to be bridged is nowhere near as bad as his – and still incredibly manageable if Ange Postecoglou does the right things.

Only because I don’t believe that Rangers have the calibre of player that they did. It’s different generations that you are comparing, but I don’t think that the Rangers team of today can compare with that Rangers side of the beginning the century.”

Admittedly, the same could be said of Celtic today. O’Neill had a side which include Henrik Larsson, Chris Sutton, John Harrison and Stiliyan Petrov to name but a few – players who, in all fairness, would comfortably beat the Celtic side of today. However, O’Neill has faith in Ange to do a good job.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – JUNE 25: New Celtic Manager Ange Postecoglou at Celtic Park, on June 25, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

“But give the man a chance. I noticed the players he has had have all spoken highly of him which is good. Some players will leave – and they better. If you don’t want to play any more for Celtic then out you go. I think he would give anything for a win over Rangers just to stabilise things. The situation is not going to be easy.”

“The start of the season will be vital, as it was for me; I count the first victory against Dundee United and the Hearts game at Tynecastle before the Rangers [6-2] game as vitally important for my own position. Had we been dropping points, then maybe the season takes a different outlook, who knows?”


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