The most difficult phase of the Celtic rebuild is almost over

By David Walton

September 23, 2021

As we go through what can only be described as a rough patch, it’s important for Celtic fans to know that the most difficult stage of our rebuild is almost over.

Ange Postecoglou certainly isn’t having a great time of it at the moment. His defence is leaking goals all over the place. We can’t buy a win away from home. Domestically we’re already four points behind Rangers in the league. All the while some of his best players have been out injured.

The manager has had it rough these last few weeks. And whilst he’s regularly been defended by the Celtic support for recent blips, the 1-0 loss at Livingston last Sunday changed things.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

All of a sudden the manager’s credentials are being questioned. His method of play is being scrutinised too. Not to mention the speculation over whether certain signings were even his idea [The Athletic].

This is what the life of a Celtic manager involves. Ange was a revolutionary a couple of weeks ago. Two bad performances later and he’s potentially not good enough for the job. Football can be a fickle game.

But if you weigh everything up, the truth is that we’re just about finished the most difficult and important phase of our rebuild. The positives of that can’t be undermined.

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Ange Postecoglou close to having a settled Celtic squad

Celtic have come a long way under Postecoglou already. Think back several months ago before his appointment. The long-term future of the club looked shaky. There was a monumental recruitment strategy that needed put into place whilst a host of deadwood and wantaways needed to depart.

You simply can’t undergo a transformation like that without some malfunctions here and there. Our defensive lapses count as one of those. And it’s the reason we dropped three valuable points in West Lothian.

But the task everyone was dreading was the overhaul of players. Not just the signing of them but the prospect of having to settle them all in and form an effective XI out of them.

Celtic brought 14 players to the club in the summer. 12 signed for first-team purposes. Meanwhile, as many as 19 figures left the playing staff including some big names. Despite the fact there are clear areas of weakness that still need addressing in January, the Hoops managed to get through the arduous task of building up a new side.

Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Now, we’re into the tough month after the transfer window. The period when the manager is trying to get his players up to full fitness and get a settled XI on the park. That’s not something he’s been able to do as of yet, but it’s coming.

James McCarthy managed to get his first start under his belt on Sunday. Giorgos Giakoumakis, meanwhile, is in the process of building up his levels. Not to mention that Carl Starfelt is still getting to grips with life at Celtic. Josip Juranovic, Jota, and Cameron Carter-Vickers, meanwhile, have only been here less than a month.

No, the departure of Dom McKay as CEO helped nobody. It didn’t look great for the image of the club, and from the outside it looks directionless at the moment. But Postecoglou has already stated it won’t halt his rebuild [Daily Record].

We have to take the manager at face value when he says that. He knows a lot more about squad building than I do. He’s had to do it in Australia and Japan for example.

It’s clear he’s close to finding out his best XI. When he’s managed that, we’ll be through the most difficult phase of our rebuilding process. Hopefully, from there on, we’ll start to see this clearly talented Celtic squad go to new heights.

In other news, Livi goalkeeper lifts lid on post-match gesture from Celtic’s Joe Hart and Stevie Woods