Brendan Rodgers was one of the first people in the game to reach out to Ange Postecoglou after the news broke that he had been appointed Celtic manager, replacing Neil Lennon who left earlier this year after a troubled season for himself and the club.
Postecoglou had previously met Rodgers on a couple if occasions and is obviously well aware of his tremendous managerial record most notably as the Celtic manager.
“Brendan was one of the first people to reach out to me and send a nice message when I got the job,” Ange revealed at Celtic Park on Friday. “I’ve met him a couple of times, firstly when he was Liverpool manager and we played against him. And then when I was national team manager, he invited me to Melwood.
“He’s had a fantastic managerial career having followed, I guess an unusual path after not being a great player. He’s definitely someone who, when things settle down, I’ll have a chat with. Because Brendan had a great experience here at Celtic.
“In his message, one thing he did say to me was that it’ll be the most memorable period of my life. So he’s been very kind to me,” Postecoglou continued. “A lot of people have reached out and offered their support and congratulations, which has been great. But ultimately, it rests on my shoulders now and I’ve got to get on with the job.
“Every manager brings their own personality to a team. But I think there will definitely be elements of how I want my team to play that are similar to Brendan’s. Watching his team, there are a lot of similarities with the kind of football teams I’ve produced.
“Both Brendan and I understand that the Celtic supporters want to win but in a certain way, and a certain style. That’s the history and tradition of this club, to play football that’s exciting – and to get people not sitting down for 90 minutes.
“I think the football I want us to play will certainly reflect that. Being in here, the history inspires you. That was part of the attraction, knowing the traditions of this club.
“To understand and comprehend that I’ll be taking the position of manager of Celtic is both inspiring and overwhelming.”
So if there’s to be a return to the excitement, the style of play and the glory of the Rodgers years few if any (there are always some) Celtic fans will be unhappy with that particular outcome. Is Ange ready for the challenge of managing Celtic? He believes he is.
“Am I ready for the intensity of this job? Well, we’ll find out won’t we? There is no avoiding it. It’s not like I can go and live in some glass bubble somewhere else.
“I understand it and I’ve been craving it my whole life. It’s the one thing I couldn’t get coaching over in Australia or Japan – that passion where the happiness or sadness of people’s whole week is determined by their football team’s result.
“I want that. Others might see it as scare or as an impediment but it’s why I’m here. I know there is good and bad in that. But the fact people are passionate about football here is what I’ve been seeking my entire life.
“I know it will ramp up once the games start, I’m sure it will be even more intense. But when it comes to football, I’m a pretty intense individual myself so I’m looking forward to it.
“It’s part of management. If you want to be a manager at a high level, you can’t avoid it. You can’t try to block it or suppress it. It’s part of your existence. And it’s part of what motivates you because you want to show people that you can perform under that scrutiny and pressure.
“Listen, I’m well aware of the magnitude of what I’ve taken on here and I know it will amplify when the season starts. But that’s all good,” the New Celtic manager said.
His family have joined him for their new life in Scotland and his wife and two boys will settle into a private life in this part of the world away from the glare of football.
“Of course, I’m always protective of my family. They’re part of the journey but not necessarily part of the public aspect of it. I have two young boys who I’ll try to protect and make sure they have a normal upbringing here.
“Life here will give them that opportunity and people will be respectful of the fact my family is here to grow up and live a normal life. At the same time, they’ve ridden the highs and lows of my career so far and they understand what it’s all about.”
During his time in quarantine on the outskirts of London Postecoglou admitted that he’d wasted no time during that spell in limbo and he’s had the chance to watch the games from last season – so will know as well as us how bad it actually was for Celtic.
“It gave me time to do a lot of things. I was already pretty aware of the club and the players here. But I had a look at all of their performances and games last year, so I had a good picture.
“I saw some obvious gaps in the squad and it’s important we work on that. Even before I talk to who potentially might leave, there are gaps that need to be filled so that’s my priority.
“It’s not going to be easy bringing players in. But even if everyone stays, we haven’t got the players required for those areas. That’s been my main focus.”