The biggest success Ange Postecoglou has had at Celtic hasn't even been on the pitch
It’s easy to get reflective when the Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic aren’t playing, and the international break is on.
You have to wonder if, for all he says he doesn’t, Postecoglou is doing a little reflection himself. He’d be quite entitled to. Here we sit on the edge of a seismic period for Celtic, with talk of a Treble being realistic. Quite the turnaround from 20-21.
If that sounds obvious, it is. However, it’s really worth looking at how low our collective confidence was at this time last year. Watching Celtic, even with the best intentions, became something of a chore. The title was lost, and a year that should’ve been momentous ended in the meekest of capitulations.
Celtic supporters, it’s fair to say, weren’t happy with our club. We looked directionless, top players were certain to leave, and though there was talk of Eddie Howe, that came to nothing. And it came to nothing after weeks and weeks of tedious speculation.
There were protests against the club’s lack of vision, and correctly so. Recruitment, performances and messages from the club had been horrendous, and the feeling was exacerbated by a pandemic that locked us out of Celtic Park. It was easy to feel utterly powerless, watching the club implode from afar.
And while a league title, maybe even a Treble, would be an outrageous achievement for Ange Postecoglou, there’s something he’s done that could already be named as his biggest achievement.
He’s got us believing in Celtic again.
Ange Postecoglou can take immense credit for the atmosphere around Celtic Park this season
The Celtic board, after months of vociferous opposition, and a bungled chase for a big-name manager, took a massive gamble.
Much as Ange Postecoglou’s CV was impressive, it was a very risky move. Placating us with a high-profile manager ahead of the summer would’ve resolved some of the ill will around Parkhead around this time last year. Instead, an esoteric move ended up paying off.
How delighted they must be. And while the 2021 AGM showed the depth of feeling that rightfully still exists with the board, the improvement in how Celtic fans are feeling more generally is enormous.
It doesn’t make you any less of a Celtic fan to admit that last season, we were painful to watch. You can love Celtic as much as anyone, and still say that there wasn’t exactly enormous anticipation for our fixtures in 20-21. Now, there’s days of build-up. Even the most minor of Ange Postecoglou quotes require examination.
With no disrespect, that wasn’t the case under Neil Lennon. It was either box office, often for the wrong reasons, or mundane.
It speaks volumes that the enormous turnover of playing staff has resulted in a whole new songbook. Each time Celtic play at home, it feels as though there’s a new song for a new player. Abada, Kyogo, Jota, Giakoumakis, Hatate, Juranovic; they’ve all got songs. So, of course, does manager Ange Postecoglou.
The spirit at Celtic has improved so radically, in fact, that 20-21 feels like so, so long ago. We have our stadium back, we have match-days back, and we’ve got a team playing fantastic, free-flowing football under a charismatic and intelligent manager.
Whatever the rest of the season brings, moments like going 3 up against Rangers, beating Ross County and Dundee United late on, Kyogo’s goal against Ferencvaros; we have priceless memories from a campaign that was meant to be all about transition. A “rebuild” year.
Instead, Ange Postecoglou has, in no time, given us a squad to be proud of again. No matter what happens from hereon in, that’s an incredible achievement.