The most consistent Celtic performers in 21-22 have been in the stands
When Ange Postecoglou took the Celtic job, he walked into a club that disappointed supporters time and again the season prior.
There wasn’t mutiny as such, but protests were widespread. The board was attracting ire comparable to the early 90s, before Fergus McCann stepped in and changed it all. Key players hadn’t been up to scratch, a club legend had left after a sour end to his second stint as Celtic manager; it was all pretty ugly.
Objectively speaking then, you’d have thought that a club’s support – in these circumstances – might’ve taken a hit going into a brand new season, with a manager largely unheralded in Europe. Instead, season tickets were snapped up vociferously.
It’s not to say that discontent with the board has gone away. But the minute fans could get back into Celtic Park, either by ballot or patience, the noise came back. And it seemed like almost everyone, eventually everyone, fully bought into what Ange Postecoglou was offering.
When the first capacity crowds came back, the terrace chants immediately got as creative as they’ve ever been. Whether it’s parroting Scooter to pay tribute to new stars Abada and Kyogo, the “everywhere we go, watching Glasgow Celtic putting on a show” chant that fully came to life at Hampden, the tributes to Bertie Auld and various new songs, the noise has been incredible.
Think, too, of “Jota on the wing”, “Last Christmas” (The Ange Postecoglou Version), new songs for Hatate and Giakoumakis. The vocal support for Callum McGregor, only elevated since he took the armband. The version of “Sway” that took an unlikely melody and made it about Celtic.
The banners, the tifos, the numbers; everything. As Celtic fans, we shouldn’t be surprised; we know what we’re like. But trying to view it from an outside perspective, or even reflecting on it as Celtic supporters, it’s staggering.
Celtic supporters don’t agree on everything, but surely we can all see the impact we’re having
At times during the managerial speculation last year, it seemed Celtic supporters wanted very, very different things.
For some, a European manager and a Director of Football were they way to go. Others wanted someone like Roy Keane, a stern dressing room presence who’d take last season’s prima donnas to task. Whatever the school of thought, it seemed unlikely that we’d have such a uniting figure as Ange Postecoglou.
Celtic supporters have been given someone who’s a bit of both. A forward-thinking manager who also takes absolutely no nonsense from the media. Still, after a shaky start, other footballing fan bases might’ve turned on him, and quickly.
Instead, any perceived division has been utterly quashed. It doesn’t just show in the numbers turning up, with games against the likes of Ross County selling out. It’s everything; the music, the atmosphere; all of it.
Our rivals would’ve hoped that after last season, it’d be a fractious, brittle environment at Celtic Park, with supporters turning against each other. They’d hoped that would feed into performances. It absolutely hasn’t happened, and now we’re on the top of the league, looking down on the Rangers – another new song in the collection.
This season, no matter how it turns out, has been brilliant. Ange Postecoglou and his team will rightly get the credit.
When it really, really mattered, though, the Celtic supporters became more colourful, creative and loud than ever. There’s absolutely zero question that it’s had a major influence on the park.