“There’s the possibility to be part of something special,” Ange Postecoglou

When Ange Postecoglou came into the club last summer we were a shambles. In no uncertain terms, we were a million miles away from being Scottish Premiership Champions, let alone compete in European group stage football. But Ange asked us all to trust the process and that’s what we did. We took some early medicine and even hit points of despair after being knocked out of the Champions League qualifying by Erik Sviatchenko and his Mitdjylland teammates.

Photo: Malcolm Mackenzie

On our opening cinch Premiership match this time last year we succumbed to a devastating defeat to Hearts at Tynecastle after some questionable defending and refereeing, whilst our goalkeeping situation looked dire in reality. The misery seemed to be never-ending as we struggled to get a full squad together and in a timely fashion.

But then, we showed a glimpse of what could be against Az Alkmaar to reach the Europa League group stages in what was a mightily impressive home display, before Kyogo struck the blow that would seal our spot and with it more cash revenue. Following this, we were mightily unlucky not to get anything from the match against theRangers at Ibrox on 29 August; giving everyone the belief that we were not too far off the pace.

Football – 2021 / 2022 Scottish Premier League – theRangers vs Celtic – Ibrox Stadium – Sunday 29th August 2021 Liel Abada of Celtic vies with Borna Barasic of theRangers

By the time October rolled around, we ended our away day curse and beat Aberdeen at Pittodrie 2-1 – courtesy of a Jota goal. There was heavy defeat at the hands of German’s Bayer Leverkusen  at Parkhead, which was balanced with a good away showing to Betis, albeit we lost on that occasion. But still, there were altogether signs that Ange Postecoglou may just be building something special.

We we’re plagued by injuries and the amount of matches took its toll on the squad. We reached January in desperation, yet still within touching distance. Following arrivals from Japan and one from England, we pushed on and consequently hammered Van Bronckhorst and his men at Celtic Park thanks to a Reo Hatate masterclass. This is when that special feeling manifested for the first time in real terms.

Angeball had arrived.

We never lost our place at the apex in Scottish football and went on to seal our spot as rightful Champions of the 2021-22 season. Now Ange has insisted he is back to be bigger, better and stronger than before as he wants to build something special with this current crop of players in the green and white Hoops. Postecoglou, speaking at yesterday’s media conference (watch below) said: “What I try to do with every environment I’ve been in is to try and create something that will surpass anything that has happened before.  So when I took over last year, the expectation for that year was to be the best team we could be and see where that takes us.

“It’s the same this year. It’s not about us coming back as champions or having more pressure and expectation. My goal and ambition is to make us the best team we can be and if we achieve that and become better than last year and perform at higher levels, then we’ll see what comes with it. It’s the same all the time.

“Every new season. I keep saying that to the players. There’s the possibility to be part of something special. Why would you want to waste a season or even a game because you somehow want to be comfortable or feel like there’s pressure or expectation.

“I didn’t start last year thinking: This is going to be a tough grind. I started last year thinking: Let’s see what we can do and can we create something special? It’s the same this year. It doesn’t change me or how I feel about what is ahead.

“I always want to try and create something special, make an impact with the team I’m involved with and it’s no different this year. We’ve got some great challenges ahead, it’s going to be tough, but the possibilities are there to create something special.”

When quizzed on whether or not he felt the Bhoys had to surpass last season’s exploits, he replied: “I think so, yeah. I think like that even with life in general, I guess. Once you have that performance, even if that performance is good and has brought you success in the past, invariably it can happen that someone can go past you. So I think that irrespective of what you have done the previous year, the aim is to always try and improve and be stronger and perform at better levels. That’s our aim.

“If we do that and with the base of what we achieved last year, we know we’ll give ourselves an opportunity for success. There’s no guarantee because someone else out there could be absolutely flying and we can’t catch them, so you just don’t know that or what will happen. What I do know is that, if we perform, we give ourselves the best chance of achieving something.”

Paul Gillespie

About Author

I'm a Garngad Bhoy through and through. My first ever Celtic game was a friendly against Italian side Parma at Celtic Park, in 2002. Currently a student of English Literature and Education at the University of Strathclyde for my sins. Favourite game would be a toss up between beating Manchester United with that Naka freekick, or the game against the Oldco when Hesselink scored in the dying seconds. I'm still convinced Cal Mac is wasted playing that far back.

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