Ange Postecoglou is "tough enough" to manage Celtic, says Billy Stark

By Euan Davidson

July 6, 2021

Former Celtic player and assistant Billy Stark believes Ange Postecoglou has what it takes to manage the club.

The former assistant to Tommy Burns, who also had spells managing Greenock Morton and St Johnstone, Stark knows more than most about the mental requirements for Celtic. In a three-year spell as a player, Stark played under Billy McNeill. Without comparing the Greek-Australian to any Bhoys legends, Stark said he was impressed by what he’d seen so far.

Stark told the Daily Record:

“His CV is quite impressive and he looks a confident, authoritative character.

“Appointing a manager nearly always has an element of luck required. Unless you are talking about the real top bracket. Particularly with the Old Firm [sic] where so much is decided by what the other half of the city are doing.

“Celtic and Rangers are a different animal so we will wait to see how he handles it. But he certainly looks like he is tough enough.”

Stark, who has spent two spells as a Scotland youth manager, knows all about moulding talents for the future. In the same space, he was effusive with his praise for Callum McGregor, while he also coached talents like Barry Bannan and James Forrest as Scotland U21 manager.

So, Ange Postecoglou’s promise to bring in Academy talents will have surely gone down well with Stark. But it’s his mentality, so far, that’s pleasing the tenured coach.

Ange Postecoglou certainly appears to have the right mentality for Celtic

In his initial media appearances as Celtic manager, Ange Postecoglou has been extremely impressive. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that he’s won over plenty of sceptics, while defending his own reputation and the status of his new club. While there are plenty of supporters who are waiting to see some performances under Postecoglou before making an assessment, he has talked the talk so far.

That includes in training, where he’s wowed fans with his charisma and commanding presence. Now, of course, it could still all go wrong, but it’s worth pointing out what a cultural shift this is.

A veteran coach: Billy Stark / (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Brendan Rodgers had it, but his predecessor Ronny Deila was more genteel and polite. Postecoglou’s predecessor, Neil Lennon, was spiky and combative, but without the us versus the world mentality that Ange seems to have. Instead, we saw a master-class in excuse making and throwing players under the bus.

The atmosphere just seems different. There are shoots of optimism and most of it comes from the personality of the new boss. This will all look supremely daft if it doesn’t work out, but this is his honeymoon period. Before the real work starts, Postecoglou and Celtic can keep on doing and saying the right things.

Billy Stark, although not a blockbuster name, is a veteran coach and has seen plenty during his time at Celtic. He was assistant to a manager the supporters adored. When he says Ange seems tough enough, it means a great deal.

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