Ange Postecoglou has repeatedly said that he did not care about outside criticism when he was hired as Celtic boss, but that does not mean that the Aussies are no longer embracing victory.
On Thursday morning, when the Celtic Australian manager claimed the league title in his first season, it was a world away from when he arrived less than a year ago.
Opinions were divided, as is often the case when teams try something new. Sometimes, like Chelsea’s Andre Villas-Boas or Barcelona’s Quick Setinen, it blows in their face, as fans regret not having a ‘proper football man’ who ‘knows the club’, whatever that means.
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But the opposite is equally possible. The Marcelo Bielser appointment in Leeds was criticized by a large section of fans who wanted a British coach like Sam Allardyce or Steve Bruce before eating a quick humble pie.
And Postecoglou opponents are doing the same thing now.
The world of talkback radio is the same in most places – full of bad research and anonymous opinions – and the scene in British football is no different.
There was a lot of ridicule when rumors of Postecoglu’s appointment began to make their way across the UK newsdesk – but there was no one more infamous than former Scotland striker Alan Brazil.
Regularly on TalkSport, Brazil read a rumor that Postecoglu was linked to Celtic’s role as then-zero manager, when co-host and Rangers legend Ally McQuest was overjoyed (see video of the infamous radio moment at the top of the page).
Ignoring Postecoglou’s mispronunciation, Brazil’s dismissal was aptly mentioned by many Aussie football fans at the time – who have since been able to highlight it sporadically.
Before adding sarcastically that Postecoglu’s appointment would be “great”, Brazil said “it has become a breeze.”
The 62-year-old missed out on ample opportunity to revise the record, Celtic flew all season and officially won the title today – but for the most part refused to do so, outside of April when he said “I knew he would be fine. I knew my man would be fine.”
Of course, this kind of speech is very harmful – and those who bring it up to the glut are equally.
But it does help to emphasize a broader point about the inherent nature of football, especially in the UK, where from an unconventional football background or worse, from a managerial point of view it can rarely be a bigger sin than incompetence. Speak in English.
Ang praised Celtic
Postecoglo has done much to profile the managers of the less-heralded countries and has created a blueprint for success – but the question now is how he will continue to do so.
The Celtics are playing great football at times, but the next step would be to shoot clubs in continental football.
It’s been more than a decade since Shinsuke Nakamura, Giorgios Samaras and even Australia’s own Scott MacDonald scored for the club on a big European night, but that could change.
However, Celtic will not have to go through a tough qualifying campaign this time around and will instead be relegated directly to next year’s group stage of the UEFA Champions League.
It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.
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