"Not in the lottery business"; Celtic boss' incredible cup final record as manager

By Euan Davidson

November 24, 2021

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has a pretty formidable record in cup finals as a boss; something to think about as December 19th gets ever closer.

Postecoglou detailed the seven cup final successes he’s had in his book, Changing the Game: Football in Australia Through My Eyes. In an excerpt from Chapter 9 [Penguin], the current Celtic boss detailed how he’d been given a “lucky” tag for his cup final heroics.

Except, that’s not something that Big Ange takes too kindly to. Now he’s played 8 and won 7, losing the Japanese League Cup Final in the early part of his spell with Yokohama F Marinos. But it’s still a formidable record which covers exploits at club and international level.

Photo by Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Postecoglou wrote [Changing the Game: Football in Australia Through My Eyes p.248, eBook location 2388]:

“People have said they thought that winning the Asian Cup was lucky. So too the seven grand finals I’ve been involved in either as player or coach, all victorious. Luck.

“Winning the first grand final with Brisbane from two-nil down with four minutes of extra time left, that was luck. The grand final win versus Perth and the Besart Berisha penalty, luck. At South Melbourne, when we were down two-one and won three-two, with substitute John Anastasiadis scoring with his first touch, luck.

“Of course it’s not luck. These successes came on the back of a process. Luck isn’t a defining factor at all. I’m not in the lottery business. Rolling the dice isn’t in my DNA. Manipulating environments is.”

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Great omens indeed for Ange Postecoglou and Celtic with another cup final next month

He’s right; although Cup Finals are a thing of romance and drama, they also tend to be won by managers with an actual plan.

There’s no secret there. Successful teams win cup finals, more often than not. Sure, there are shocks along the way, but only well-drilled teams with quality are able to pull off upsets.

From Postecoglou’s book, there are consistent themes. Proving people wrong is undoubtedly one of the most common. Another is being in control of environments and evoking emotions. There’s a brilliant anecdote about Postecoglou preparing his Socceroos for the Asian Cup Final by speaking openly and emotionally about their motivations.

Photo by Matt King/Getty Images

That bond, that togetherness, surely helped. And although Postecoglou has said he’s not going around hugging his players, sharing communal goals and being vulnerable with each other as a team helps to create winning squads.

It’s a fascinating read. But the takeaway today? Postecoglou knows how to win cup finals. He’s been a victor in all but one, and as Celtic gear up for the showpiece event against Hibs next month, it’s an excellent omen.

Read more: Report: How John Souttar feels about potential transfer amid Celtic link

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