How Ange Postecoglou turned Celtic from 10IAR bottlers to back-to-back Champions

How Ange Postecoglou turned Celtic from 10IAR bottlers to back-to-back Champions…

Two years ago on 7 March 2021, Celtic’s world came crashing down around them as a tenth title in a row slipped from their grasp. With theRangers making inroads domestically pressure was mounting on the board to bring in the man who would stop the rut.

26 months later, the Hoops are firmly back in control of Scottish football once again, on the cusp of securing a historic eighth treble and the fourth in six years. Ange Postecoglou’s arrival is largely responsible for this remarkable turnaround as the intense Australian has matched the demands that come with managing in Glasgow, steamrolling his way through the competition in his tenure.

The 2020/21 campaign threatened to derail Celtic’s era of dominance but Postecoglou’s side have ensured that it stands as a clear outlier in a golden era at Parkhead. So how did the man from down under accomplish all this and where does his already legendary run stand in the great pantheon of Celtic managers?

The comeback

If it hadn’t been for a cataclysmic campaign in 2020/21 then Celtic would likely be boasting their 12th title in a row this year, a feat that surely no theRangers side, or even any European side, could hope to rival. A combination of poor recruitment, aimless leadership and a global crisis affecting us all made for the most disastrous season Celtic Park has seen in the modern era.

The scale of the rebuild required was unfathomable and with the Bhoys falling to their sixth Glasgow Derby defeat in seven in the sides’ first meeting the following year, the task looked a daunting one. However, Postecoglou has masterfully navigated the cauldron that is Scottish football to secure back-to-back titles having only lost five times in the league over the course of two seasons.

It’s easy to forget the many criticisms leveled at Celtic’s ownership over the appointment of the 57-year-old as many hadn’t even heard of him; with the benefit of hindsight, how wrong we all were to judge. Those days are a thing of the past now but not even the most optimistic Celtic fan could have anticipated the scale of Postecoglou’s success.

The return to form of talismanic captain Calum McGregor along with the expert signings of Jota, Kyogo, Maeda and Carter-Vickers have helped Big Ange establish an attractive high-octane attacking brand of football that has decimated the opposition. Defences have often been left chasing shadows, unable to assess where the next attack is coming from.

If there is such a thing as a neutral in Scotland, they would have to admit Celtic play the best football in the league by far. In a moment where theRangers could have asserted their own authority domestically, the Aussie wrestled control from them and placed it firmly back into green and white hands. Now a summer overhaul is the only thing that the blue half of Glasgow has to cling onto heading into next season while the Bhoys set their sights on bigger fish, finally hoping to make progress on the European stage.

Is he one of the best there’s been?

It’s honestly too soon to say, but one is for certain, the Aussie is revered by the fans. Akin to an impassioned cult leader devoid of flaws, onlookers might think the adulation of the man is excessive but to loyal fans the praise is justified.

He is the hero that took Celtic back to the top of the mountain having fallen all the way to the bottom just 12 months prior. There is a place in any Celtic fan’s heart for the man who overturned a 25-point deficit the season before into a title-winning campaign. The level of admiration matches the scale of the accomplishment, but even so it is too early to say whether Big Ange can be considered one of the greats.

Many will be hoping the Aussie confirms his long-term aspirations to remain at Celtic Park so that he has that opportunity but the Bhoys’ recent managerial history should serve as a cautionary tale. Ronny Deila was never really accepted by Celtic fans as the best choice to lead the club to ten in a row despite securing two titles out of the two available to him, but the same cannot be said of his predecessors. Longtime fan Brendan Rodgers stepped into the fold to fulfill his boyhood dream of managing Celtic and laid the groundwork for an era of unprecedented success.

The Northern Irishman’s domestic record was nearly flawless with two consecutive trebles before setting the club well on its way to its third by the time he left for Leicester City and the Premier League. His departure left a sour taste in the mouth with fans desperately disappointed and feeling betrayed that he didn’t see the job through to claim the fabled treble treble for himself.

26th November 2017, Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland; Scottish League Cup Final, Motherwell versus Celtic; Brendan Rodgers with the trophy

Neil Lennon picked up the reins and in his stead secured the triad of trebles but any good will built up from previous success was obliterated in his embarrassing 2020/21 display. Both Lennon and Rodgers enjoyed notable success, lifting numerous trophies and asserting Celtic’s domestic dominance more than ever before but their tenures have been tarnished by the manner of their departures. Should Postecoglou leave in a similar fashion after establishing a deep heartfelt connection with the fans in his short stint, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where those same accusations of treachery wouldn’t rightly rise to surface once again.

Will he stay?

According to new bookies online, Postecoglou is being linked to multiple Premier League jobs most notably Tottenham, and Celtic will see it as vital they keep hold of him. For now there doesn’t seem to be any sign the Aussie is leaving Glasgow; he has found a home away from home at Celtic with a fanbase that adores him.

Having said that, there have been a number of suitors interested in acquiring the Australian for themselves and Celtic fans know this story all too well. The Premier League is the most attractive product on the planet for any player or manager looking to test their mettle and Postecoglou’s success has garnered significant attention south of the border.

It’s unlikely he follows Rodgers’ lead but in any case, it’s important that the club ensure that future success is not so intrinsically linked to the current manager so as to avoid any pitfalls a sudden unexpected departure would bring. In the meantime though, theRangers fans are desperate to see the back of Big Ange and that tells you all you need to know about how important it is to keep him at Celtic Park .

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