Former Chelsea man weighs in on Celtic managerial debate

By Euan Davidson

June 2, 2021

Former Chelsea and Manchester United goalkeeper Mark Bosnich has given his verdict on Celtic candidate Ange Postecoglou.

The former Socceroos ‘keeper, who earned 17 caps, spoke to Sky Sports about the potential appointment. Postecoglou has emerged as the favourite since Eddie Howe’s shock refusal to join the Bhoys. While plenty are optimistic about the J-League and A-League winner’s brand of football, there’s also a sizeable dose of scepticism about whether his accolades translate to the Scottish Premiership.

Bosnich told Sky Sports:

“He did have a fantastic time at a club called Brisbane Roar, where he pretty much revolutionised the way football was played over here. And he’s won the title in his first foray into Asia with Yokohama F Marinos. Now, I can understand the angst from Celtic supporters. Winning the title [in Australia] and in Japan is not managing in the Scottish Premier League [sic].

“Nor is it managing a club the size of Celtic, whose worldwide support is right up there.

“In terms of his playing philosophy, I used to have debates with him. I wouldn’t say arguments. I used to have debates with him, because he was a big fan of this [idea that] it’s about the process, that’s more important than the result. But he’ll find out very, very quickly, as I’m sure he has done in Japan, that the result is going to define exactly how he goes here.

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“He loves playing attractive football, he loves his team to press high. Centre backs that can play high up from the back. He prefers to play 4-3-3, sometimes that can be a 4-2-3-1. But if there’s one word I’d use to describe his coaching, that would be “adaptable”.

“If he does get appointed, he does deserve a chance. But it is a big risk, there’s no doubt about that.”

Mark Bosnich in 1999 / (Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images/Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Mark Bosnich’s opinions hold some weight, but Ange Postecoglou to Celtic is getting… exciting?

For the football aesthetes amongst us, everything about how Ange Postecoglou approaches the game sounds fantastic. His preferred formation and set-up lends itself well to historically successful sides of the past. To my mind, the style v results argument is a little redundant here; if anything held us back in 20-21, it was conservatism.

Too many draws, too many narrow losses, not enough risk. That was the issue, in general, against teams like St Mirren, Hibs and Livingston. These are the must-win games, and there’s little doubt to me that Postecoglou turning those games into wins again well set him up well to mount a title challenge, if indeed he comes through the doors at Parkhead.

Bosnich is right, it’s a risk. However, it’s a risk in the same way every managerial appointment is a risk. Those who want an enforcer type who won’t take any nonsense will probably like Postecoglou’s man-management and public persona. Those who like their football played high up, with relentless attacking will also be keen. In terms of a bridge between the Roy Keane fans and the Eddie Howe disciples, Postecoglou might give the best of both worlds.

Is this optimistic? Perhaps. And it doesn’t make us defenders of the board to suggest that Postecoglou might actually be half-decent at this management lark.

In any case, these are very interesting comments from the former Chelsea goalkeeper.

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