"You feel 10 feet tall"; ex-Brisbane Roar player tells Celtic players what to expect from Ange Postecoglou

By Euan Davidson

June 16, 2021

New Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou already has much of Australia backing him.

He’s also got an exhaustive list of approving players, coaches and journalists who swear by his methods. After all, why wouldn’t they? A serial winner at club and international level, many Celtic supporters have warmed to the left-field appointment.

Twice an A-League Champions with Brisbane Roar, he took the side to a 36-game unbeaten run [FTBL], before winning the Asian Cup with Australia. In Japan, Postecoglou won the J-League with Yokohama F Marinos, who he left to join Celtic. And yet another of his former players have joined the chorus of praise for the new Bhoys boss.

In an excellent article for FotMob, Erik Paartalu stressed the impact of Postecoglou’s man-management, training and coaching abilities. The former Gretna and Greenock Morton midfielder won titles with Ange in Brisbane, and he said of his former coach [FotMob]:

“In the first grand final [2011 against Central Coast Mariners], the goal I scored in the last couple of seconds [of extra time, 120th minute to force penalties after 2-2 draw], it was the build-up before that showed everything that we’re about. [Michael] Theo had the ball and could’ve gone long, but he throws it to [Massimo] Murdocca and we build up from the back and get a corner.

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“That was so typical of the way he wanted us to play. Even in training, it was like, ‘don’t put the ball above waist height or in the air’. If you did that, you had to give the ball to the other team. So we were drilled into knowing short passes, through lines, everyone in the right position, movement off the ball, entry points on the edge of the box, guys overlapping, 4-3-3 and don’t cross the ball in if you’re not sure.”

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Paartalu continued [FotMob]:

“That was his blueprint. We were going to play his way all the way to the death. When we lost five in a row, he never got angry. He was so clear, saying keep doing it, be confident, keeping passing the ball.

“He definitely improves players’ game intelligence when they work under him. You feel 10-feet tall and just know your job inside and out because of the way he prepares you.”

Paartalu celebrates for Brisbane Roar / (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Quite the review, and it’s worlds away from the culture at Celtic in 20-21. So often, players looked unaware of their responsibilities, or were played out of position. A former fan favourite in Ryan Christie won’t be missed by many supporters if he leaves, after a rough season, despite contributing massively in years prior.

Players like Olivier Ntcham were jettisoned, while new signings like Albian Ajeti and Vasilis Barkas were only given sporadic chances to perform.

Latterly, at the end of Lennon’s spell, nobody looked confident, or sure of what they were meant to do.

A change from that cluelessness is what’s needed most at Celtic.

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