When news broke that Ange Postecoglou was named as the new Celtic FC manager, plaudits were coming from everywhere, and rightly so. However, the magnitude of the task that currently lays ahead of him is one that some fans might not realise.
Postecoglou is coming into an environment the likes of which he has never experienced before. Coming into a new club that finished second in the league table and only lost five games out of their 38 might seem like a reasonably easy transition on the surface, but in reality is far from it.
There has been severe unrest from the Celtic faithful after the year they had to endure.
Hoping to capture an incredible tenth consecutive Scottish championship title, Celtic, like the rest of the division, could only sit back and watch as Rangers blew them away.
Steven Gerrard’s men played through the entire season without defeat, conceding just 13 goals to finish a whopping 25 points ahead of their fierce neighbours.
Ange going into unfamiliar territory
So what does await the first-ever Australian to manage a major European club?
The scrutiny that Postecoglou will come under will be unlike anything he has seen before. Add to that the weather, muddy pitches, and the way fans can turn on their club when things go wrong.
Michael Grant, the chief football writer with the Scottish Times knows what lays ahead for our Australian coach.
“Postecoglou is coming into a pretty negative environment, to be honest with you,” Grant said.
“He’s going to have a hard job turning the club around from where they stand at the moment. It’s a bit of a mess at Celtic to be honest with you, and that’s what Postecoglou’s walking into.”
To make matters even worse for Postecoglou, many Celtic fans had high hopes when news surfaced that the club was in talks with former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe. When the deal fell through, the support base was far from happy, hence the angst around Postecoglou’s appointment.
“When that deal fell through, they were furious because it looked like Celtic were back to square one,” Grant said.
“People here don’t know about Postecoglou or his record and people still have old-fashioned views about Australian and Japanese football.”
Because of all the off-field changes, Postecoglou will be in a position he has never been in before.
Celtic’s chief executive Peter Lawwell will step down in July, ending his 17-year association with the Glasgow club. At the time of writing, Celtic does not have a head of recruitment or a director of football.
So what does this mean?
Simply put, if Postecoglou wants to sign players to improve the squad, he will have to do so on his own; something that is simply unheard of in professional football.
Postecoglou must get results, quick
With all of that going on behind the scenes, Postecoglou has to get it right on the pitch, and quickly too.
In just a couple of weeks, the Glasgow club will embark on its Champions League qualifying campaign. If he manages to navigate through the qualifiers and gets Celtic into Europe’s premier club competition, then that will give him significant funds for new players.
However, should Celtic fail to make it out of the qualifying stages, then there will be huge amounts of pressure on Postecoglou even before the domestic season starts. The pressure is undeniable.
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It is no secret to the Australian and Japanese footballing communities that Postecoglou knows what he is doing in the top job. However, football in Europe is a different beast altogether.
One can only hope that Postecoglou gets given the time to ‘turn around’ a club that finished second in the table.
Fans in Europe love their football, it is a way of life for them. While Postecoglou has the points in the bank from his previous exploits, they count for nothing when it comes to a club of Celtic’s size.
This managerial position will be anything but straight lines for Postecoglou.
If he can bring the club back to where it should be or at least show signs, then the fans will warm to him. If results go south early on, then one can only imagine the headlines and scrutiny that will follow.
It is the biggest job in his managerial career, but one he has deserved.
Now, this little known Australian coach has the chance to put his credentials to the ultimate test. In such an unforgiving environment, Postecoglou can silence a lot of haters.
Can bring he Celtic FC back to where they belong, on top of the Scottish football landscape?
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