The doubters, the turning point: One year of Ange has been a massive Celtic thrill

By Lewis Laird

June 11, 2022

Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the Ange Postecoglou era kicking off at Celtic.

The 56-year-old was officially appointed as manager of the club on 10th June 2021, and it has been an incredible journey since.

The Hoops were coming off the back of a disastrous campaign, and we faced our first trophyless season in over ten years.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Not only did we have the disappointment of the 2020/21 season to deal with, but also the prospect of a dramatic rebuild that would be a daunting task for any manager arriving at Parkhead.

For months, it looked as though Eddie Howe was going to be the man leading us into a new era for the club. But I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how that one ended.

This only increased the pressure on the club after fans were made to wait over 100 days for a new manager, who would be rushed in to take over a huge rebuild.

Overcoming the doubters

Although Celtic fans were glad to finally have a man ready to take over in the dugout, it is fair to say there was a mixed reaction to the appointment of Postecoglou.

The majority of supporters hadn’t heard of Ange before, coming from Yokohama F Marinos in Japan and having previous spells in Australia and with the national team.

However, those doubts were put to the back of the mind for most after Postecoglou’s first press conference, impressing those watching on.

The new Celtic manager had a busy few months ahead, and, after joining later into the summer, he was very much thrust straight into the job.

Celtic supporters could already see from the early stages what Postecoglou was trying to do, but he was in desperate need of new additions.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Those additions came one by one, adding the likes of Liel Abada, Kyogo Furuhashi, Joe Hart and Josip Juranovic to his squad.

Although there may have been some impressive signs in the Hoops’ performances, there were also some moments for concern at the beginning of his reign.

That included defeats in the early rounds of Champions League qualifying against FC Midtjylland and three away defeats in our first six games to Hearts, Rangers, and Livingston.

The doubts continued to be cast onto Postecoglou by the Scottish media. But, the Celtic manager continued his work behind the scenes and was soon rewarded for his patience.

The turning point

Ange Postecoglou’s summer recruitment ended with three final additions on transfer deadline day with the signings of Cameron Carter-Vickers, Giorgos Giakoumakis and Jota, taking the total to 12.

All three would go on to make a significant contribution on the season, and some could describe that as a turning point for this squad.

However, I think the real turning point was during a tough week in October.

Off the back of a frustrating 1-1 draw against Dundee United and a spirited 4-0 loss in the Europa League to Bayer Leverkusen, the Bhoys headed to Pittodrie looking for their first away win in eight months.

Photo by Jan Kruger – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Despite taking a first-half lead, the Hoops were hit back in the second 45 minutes, and with the score being level going into the final 10 minutes, it looked like the wait was going to continue for an away win.

However, up stepped on-loan Benfica man Jota to turn home an Adam Montgomery cross, securing all three points on our travels to Aberdeen.

This victory was what really kicked off the Ange Postecoglou era at Celtic, and despite being written off, we were now on our way to a title charge.

Consistency leading to success

From October, this Celtic side went on to show exactly why they finished as Champions, losing just one game domestically until the end of the season.

There may have been a few slip-ups, such as draws against St Mirren and Hibernian. But you could now only count those on the one hand in the second half of the season, rather than consistently dropping points at the beginning of the campaign.

Postecoglou and his players had to deal with many challenges across the course of the season, with the majority of players having a spell out injured.

But, the squad pulled through and delivered success, including silverware in December, lifting the Premier Sports Cup.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The additions of Daizen Maeda, Reo Hatate and Matt O’Riley in January would also prove to be yet more brilliant recruitment from Postecoglou as his side continued their brilliant run.

Memorable moments include victories over Glasgow rivals Rangers, both home and away, and late winners against Ross County and Dundee United.

That consistent run and the work put in by those at the club led to the Hoops becoming Champions once again, more than deservedly.

Even more to come from Postecoglou and his squad

The club has come a long way under the management of Postecoglou over the last 12 months, and I have my doubts over whether anyone could have seen this coming.

Next season, we have Champions League group stage football to look forward to, and Ange has already vowed on several occasions that he will make this squad even better.

That is an exciting thought for Celtic fans across the globe, and everyone is already eagerly anticipating the Bhoys’ return at the beginning of next month.

This summer can be a little more relaxed in comparison to last year. But, there is no question that the Celtic manager will be working his very best to add improvements for next season.

From a personal point of view, the last 12 months have been some of my favourite times being a Celtic supporter, and I cannot wait to see where Ange will take us next!

In other news, Report: The clubs Vasilis Barkas was offered to before inevitable Celtic exit.