Exclusive: "We're going to be Celtic fans"; top Australian journalist talks up importance of Ange Postecoglou

By Euan Davidson

June 2, 2021

If you weren’t aware of how beloved Celtic managerial candidate Ange Postecoglou is in Australia, you’re about to.

The former Socceroos coach is an incredibly popular man. While he’s never managed in Europe, that doesn’t mean to say he couldn’t be what Celtic need. However, his potential appointment has been met with some opposition from supporters, particularly over social media.

What works against him? Lack of knowledge about football outside of Europe, combined with cynicism about the standard of the A-League and Japanese football. But it’s not just accolades, explains Vince Rugari of the Sydney Morning Herald, in an exclusive chat with 67 Hail Hail.

Rugari told our own Hamish Carton:

“Stats, facts and figures and achievements, and an honours list can tell you one thing. [But] the reason we’re so bullish about Ange Postecoglou is because of who he is and how he does what he does. You can’t gain that understanding from reading a couple of articles or going down a YouTube rabbithole.

“You have to sort of have experienced it, lived with it [to] understand the full context. It’s remarkable. It’s crazy – none of us have a bad word to say about Ange. One or two may have been burned by him in the past. But on the whole I think most sensible football observers in Australia would say that he’s the best coach we’ve had, probably not even in terms of just football.

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“He’s probably the best coach Australia as a sporting nation has ever produced. I don’t say that lightly.”

There’s massive excitement from Australia / (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

“Massively overdue”; Rugari reckons Celtic candidate Ange Postecoglou has more than earned a big chance

Of course, that cynicism we mentioned earlier is hard to shake. Especially when considering other Australian coaches managing in Europe. There are no real success stories to speak of. However, Celtic have blazed the trail before, hiring the first footballer from the Indian sub-continent in Europe back in 1936, Mohammed Salim.

So, if you know your history, you’ll be cognisant of the fact that breaking boundaries isn’t really an issue for Celtic.

Rugari continued:

“In terms of Europe, we talk about Tony Popovic, coached very briefly at a club in Turkey and it didn’t end well [The World Game].  Kevin Muscat recently coached in the Belgian top division, and again, it didn’t last long [Sydney Morning Herald]. These guys don’t get a fair crack at things, because as far as we’re concerned, European countries don’t rate Australian football, they don’t rate Australian tacticians.

“If there’s a reason to axe them early, they’ll take it. This is why it’s a big thing for Australia with Ange, if he goes to Celtic and does well.

“I’m not a Celtic fan, there’s lots of other Australians who aren’t Celtic fans, but we’re going to be Celtic fans over this journey. Because we are as invested as you guys in this. We need this to work for our country, we want to see our best guy gain the recognition that we think is massively overdue.”

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