Celtic announce Ange Postecoglou as coach in historic moment for Australian football

After an extended courtship, Ange Postecoglou has been confirmed as the next boss of Scottish giants Celtic FC – a monumental moment in not just his own career, but potentially for the Australian game as a whole. 

Postecoglou, 55, emerged as the surprise frontrunner for the Hoops job after Eddie Howe — who had been expected to sign a contract within days — turned down the opportunity in late May.

While all signs emanating from Parkhead indicated they were consistently locked in on the Athenian-born, Melbourne raised coach as the man to lead them into the 2021-22 campaign, his candidacy raised immediate eyebrows amongst a Celtic faithful largely unaware of his resume outside of Europe.

Google searches and Wikipedia-based analysis of his resume skyrocketed in the wake of The Scotsman’s initial report of his candidacy. 

See Also: What Celtic fans should expect from Ange Postecoglou if ex-Australia boss takes over as manager

Reports also surfaced questioning whether or not Postecoglou would even be able to take up the Celtic post due to his lack of a UEFA Pro Licence, only for fears that legalese would scuttle his highly-credentialled candidacy to be waylaid when the club announced that he had “achieved UEFA recognition and endorsement in relation to his pro-Licence issued by Football Australia”

Already a contender for the title of Australia’s greatest ever coach, Postecoglou’s highly successful domestic career has seen him win titles with South Melbourne in the NSL and Brisbane Roar in the A-League, as well as in the highly competitive J1 League with Yokohama F Marinos. 

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On an international level, he oversaw the Socceroos as they sent significant scares through Chile and the Netherlands at the 2014 World Cup and guided the national side to qualification for the 2018 iteration. His greatest achievement as a coach arrived in 2015, when he was in the dugout as the Socceroos became champions of Asia on home soil. 

In a statement posted to its website, the Japanese club thanked him for his service and said that it would “support Postecoglou’s new challenges as a family”.

Postecoglou has signed a 12-month, rolling contract with the Scottish giants and will meet up with his new squad for pre-season as soon as he is able to clear COVID- protocols. 

“The opportunity that has been given to me is one of the greatest honours in football and the responsibility to lead our magnificent football club into the future is one that I will cherish dearly,” Postecoglou said. 

“Celtic is one of THE names in world football, of that there is no doubt – a giant of a club, a proper footballing institution and so much more – real history, real substance, real authenticity and real soul. I know Celtic is a true way of life for so many people and I know the demands which come with this position – I am ready to do all I can to meet those demands.

“I will be doing everything I can to get our great blub back on top and, at the same time, deliver the kind of football which our fans appreciate. We want to entertain our fans and we want to win, these are the objectives which I always set myself and which I now begin work on.

“When you think of Celtic, you think of supporters and my dream is to see our fans back at Celtic Park with us as soon as possible. We all hope things are changing for the better and can see our fans soon as they are vital to everything I want to do. We need our supporters back by our side and I can’t wait to be with them back in a packed Paradise.

“I have already had great discussions with Peter [Lawwell, Celtic’s outgoing Chief Exectuive], Dom [McKay, Celtic’s incoming Chief Executive] and the Board about their ideas and strategy for the future of the club. 

“I know the club’s new modern vision aligns very much with mine and we now look to go and deliver on this. In everything we do we aim to give our fans a successful team of real quality, which they are excited about and can be proud of.

“We have already begun work on our plans for adding to the squad – we aim to bring players of quality to Celtic to enhance the existing core of great talent. 

“I very much look forward to meeting with the players on their return from the close season break and I can’t wait to get started as Celtic Manager.”

While Celtic’s quest for ten in a row may have been foiled by bitter Auld Firm rivals Rangers last season, the 51-time Scottish league champions, 40 times Scottish Cup champions, 19 time Scottish League Cup champions and one-time European Cup champions without a doubt represent the biggest and most famous club to have ever been entrusted to an Australian coach. 

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Possessing a passionate, worldwide fanbase and some of the most fervent terraces in all of football, the club’s longstanding tradition of success and expectation of results means that Postecoglou will likely be expected to hit the ground running when he arrives in Glasgow. 

While his philosophy and approach have consistently brought results wherever he has gone after an initial adjustment period, Celtic is a club that doesn’t rebuild – it reloads. 

“I am delighted we have been able to secure Ange as the new Celtic Football Manager,” McKay said.

“In all our discussions, I have been hugely impressed by Ange and his aligned vision to work with me to develop and evolve the club, focused on bringing back sustained success.

“He is someone I believe has the coaching and managerial credentials to be a real success at Celtic and we are already working closely together on our plans for the season and seasons ahead.

“Throughout all our conversations I have been struck by Ange’s passion for Celtic and his strength of feeling for Celtic, he is hugely motivated by this opportunity, honoured to be Celtic Manager and eager to be part of the club’s future success.  

“Our discussions have also outlined the exciting vision he has for the team. He is someone who wants to play football the way all Celtic supporters love; an ambition very close to his heart.

“Ange is also very well-connected in global football, contacts which I am sure we will benefit from, he has a modern outlook and he shares my desire to evolve the club positively for the seasons ahead.

“Importantly, he is also someone we believe who has the mentality and strength of character to lead a club of Celtic’s size and stature.

“Everyone at Celtic is pleased to welcome Ange and we look forward to working with him to bring our fans the success which their support deserves.”

Postecoglou’s fortunes at ‘Paradise’, however, carries significant repercussions beyond himself and the Celtic faithful. 

Shattering the glass ceiling that Australian coaches have long faced when it came to being considered for major men’s jobs in Europe, the former Socceroos boss has the opportunity to significantly reshape the narrative surrounding his compatriots in the eyes of European clubs. 

Australia still battling perceptions that it is a footballing backwater with little in the way of tactical nuance or understanding amongst those in football’s old world, Postecoglou’s brave and attacking play can write a new chapter in what can be achieved by Antipodean coaches. 

Should he, as he did in Japan, bring with him a bevy of Australian coaches to serve on his staff, he might also begin to spread a coaching tree that already has significant roots in Australia and Japan onto the Continent. 

Long an evangelist for the intrinsic worth and value that the Australian game can bring, Postecolou once again finds himself at the vanguard of Australian football – dragging it closer to prominence he has long felt it should be consistently aiming for. 

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