Sead Hakšabanović: “The best is yet to come from him. Absolutely,” Ange Postecoglou

Sead Hakšabanović’s transfer to Celtic from Rubin Kazan was unusually complex given the situation that Russian football finds itself in due to the aggressive nature of the country’s rulers, but perseverance paid off when the deal was eentually concluded and the player is now showing strong signs of becoming a top quality performer for the Hoops.

Celtic’s Sead Haksabanovic on the ball with Dani Carvajal watching during the UEFA Champions League match between Celtic and Real Madrid, at the Celtic Park on September 6, 2022. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Ange Postecoglou yesterday spoke about the Swedish born Montenegrin international star who has looked the part every time we’ve had the opportunity to watch him playing, including when he came off the bench against Real Madrid in the Champions League.

“Sead is doing well. We have had the luxury of being able to ease him in,” Ange said yesterday, as reported in Daily Record. “He is building his fitness up and getting an understanding of our game, but he’s a good footballer. We are really happy to have him and we are excited to see what he can bring. Sead is still only 23, so we were happy to get him. The best is yet to come from him. Absolutely.

Sead Haksabanovic right and Hibernian’s Josh Campbell battle for the ball during the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, Saturday October 15, 2022. Photo Steve Welsh

“That was one of the attractions for us when he signed him. We saw a player who had a great deal of experience, but in terms of his age profile and where is at in his career, there is still plenty more in him. The added bonus with Sead is that he can play two or three positions. We felt we needed a player like that and we are pleased with his progress, but we also know there is more to come.”

On getting that deal over the line, then going back and doing it all over again with the complex deal to bring in Oliver Abildgaard also from Rubin Kazan, the Celtic manager was happy to once again praise the Celtic CEO and his team for managing to find a way to conclude both deals.

Oliver Abildgaard of Celtic RB Leipzig v Celtic, UEFA Champions League, Group F, Football, Red Bull Arena, Leipzig, Germany – 05 Oct 2022. Photo by Kieran McManus/Shutterstock

“There are always challenges when doing these things, but Michael Nicholson and the rest of the guys worked hard to get it done.

“It wasn’t an easy deal to get it done in the current climate but from my first discussion with Sead, I knew he was all in. He definitely wanted to come and, when you get that vibe from a player, there is always a good chance the deal will get done.”

Training on his own back in his homeland over the summer was never going to make ideal preparation for a move to Celtic for Denmark international midfielder Oliver Abildgaard and in that regard he was pretty much in the same boat as Australian international Aaron Mooy who spent several months in Glasgow after leaving China on a free-transfer.

Mooy trained alone while taking the opportunity for his Scottish wife to visit her family in the city and joining up with Celtic, managed by fellow Aussie Ange made perfect sense.

Ross County v Celtic – Premier Sports Cup – Second Round – Global Energy Stadium Celtic s Aaron Mooy attempts a shot on goal during the Premier Sports Cup second round match in Dingwall. : Wednesday August 31, 2022. Photo Trevor Martin

But with both players, each an expereinced international performer, the challenge was going to be about getting them up to speed given their lack of a proper pre-season.

“I never expected guys like Aaron and Oliver to come in without a pre-season and be ready to go,” Ange said. “There was always going to be a period of time for them to get ready. Aaron missed pre-season but he also hadn’t played a competitive club match since January. The only competitive games had been with Australia, so it was totally different for him, especially with how we want to play.

“We knew it would take time for Aaron but I know the player well, and I know the person. I was always confident he would find his feet from a physical perspective. The talent is there and the technical ability is there, so he just had to get up to speed. Aaron will be a big contributor for us.”

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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