Ange Postecoglou is in place as Celtic’s new manager and has begun work to try and take the club to trophy success again.
The Australian has arrived in Glasgow and already worked with some of his players, while he gets used to his new surroundings and learns more details about the challenges that await.
The 55-year-old met the media for the first time on Friday and discussed a range of subjects, from his interview process to his style of play and the players he’ll have at his disposal as he looks to reshape his team
We’ve looked at some of the key take-aways as Postecoglou made his first impression as Celtic boss.
The former Australia boss has plenty of belief in himself
It’s fair to say there were plenty who were surprised when, in quick succession, Celtic’s long pursuit of Eddie Howe ended in disaster and Postecoglou emerged as the hot favourite to land the job. The Australian’s CV was picked over and some questioned whether his previous roles gave proof that he could handle the pressure cooker of managing a big club in Glasgow.
When asked about it being apparent that he wasn’t first choice, the coach shrugged it off and even joked that he might have been fifth choice and not second, making it clear he wasn’t concerned about anything that happened before he accepted the job.
But when asked about the environment he had coached in before, Postecoglou showed a little edge and was clearly bemused by the suggestion that a move to Scotland was a big shift for him.
“I don’t know what you mean by ‘jump’,” he said. “But I assume you mean I was coaching at a lower level or some lesser level.
“I guess that’s a matter of opinion but I’ve coached at a World Cup, I’ve coached against some of the best teams in the world, so that’s not how I look at it.”
Confidence isn’t going to be an issue.
Postecoglou has his own ideas on how the game should be played and thinks it will excite fans
New Celtic chief executive Dominic McKay made reference to Postecoglou’s teams having a style that would go down well with the Celtic support and the man himself said it was an approach he felt fitted Celtic’s traditions and was part of the reason he was identified as an ideal candidate for the job.
He talked about a “method” and a “process” and “certain steps to go through” as if he has a formula in mind and stated his confidence that if it’s in place then his team will win.
Supporters won’t get a chance to see his ideas put into action just yet but will no doubt have been encouraged by his outline of what ‘Ange-ball’ might look like.
“[Fans] can expect what I’ve delivered with every other team I’ve managed,” he said. “We want to be a team that’s exciting to watch, that scores goals, that’s aggressive, that doesn’t take backward steps.
“One that doesn’t fear any opponent or any team. We want to dominate games of football. Every team I’ve coached has had an element of that and we’ve been successful.
“The reason I do it is because it brings success, not because of some ideological dream about how football should be played. It just brings me success wherever I have been so I hope this place is rocking and people don’t sit down for 90 minutes.”
Postecoglou acknowledged that his description was “just words” but whether he can deliver on that description might determine how successful a season he has.
The squad will be shaped to fit his style, not the other way around
If the description of his approach to the game left any doubt at all, Postecoglou’s talk about recruitment made it crystal clear that he wouldn’t be adjusting to suit the players he inherited.
The coach made more than one reference to players being recruited, or given a chance to “fit the picture”. Those already at Lennoxtown will now be auditioning to show they can impress in his formation and tactics, with the outcome being obvious if they can’t.
“With the existing players we have, they’ll all be given the chance on merit,” he said. “With the ones coming in, I will bring in ones I know will fit.”
Signings are coming but youth will be important
Asked when those new players would be coming in, Postecoglou joked that he wanted them “Yesterday. A couple of days ago” and it’s apparent to everyone that Celtic will have to be busy in the market this summer.
The club’s emerging youth players won’t have been left with the impression that there will be any barrier blocking the way to the first team, though.
Postecoglou has a reputation for fielding sides with a low average age and it definitely seems that case that “If you’re good enough, you’re old enough” but he went further to explain the importance of youth team players coming through because of a bond with the club and it’s supporters. With the likes of Callum McGregor and James Forrest already having that connection to the stands, the next generation will get their opportunity, it seems.
“I think it’s a really important part of any football club,” he said. “When you get a player coming through your own system it validates certain things that the club sees as a certain way of playing or a type of football.
“When you see them out here, I think supporters see one of their own out there. Someone who probably was on the terrace at one point and now plays for the football club. It means more.
“It is an important part of what I believe should be imperative, which is that you develop your own players.
“Especially at a club like this.”
Postecoglou said he had already had discussions with academy coaches and that the best prospects were already training with the first team to make up numbers with so many players missing. Those that catch his eye could be given a massive opportunity this summer.
Big calls will be made with minimum fuss, including those about key roles
If there was one thing that could be taken from his first public appearance as Celtic manager, it was that he intends to be the boss in every way.
In the 35 minutes that he took questions, Postecoglou never looked to McKay for help with an answer, or assurance that he was on the right track. Every answer was direct and usually detailed.
In fact, McKay was noticeably vague when talking about the club’s plans to introduce a director of football, while Postecoglou made it apparent there isn’t any decision he will shirk, or any aspect of the football side of the business that he will take responsibility for.
That was particularly evident when asked about his backroom staff. Assistant manager John Kennedy and coach Gavin Strachan remain at the club after being part of Lennon’s coaching staff and then takign interim charge until the summer.
Postecoglou said he’ll start with both in place but was pretty forthright in saying that he’ll make changes the moment he feels it’ll benefit the team. But the manner in which he answered made it clear he’ll happily take responsibility for making any call and won’t seek approval from anyone before important decisions.
“My view on these things has always been that I’ll trust my judgement above anyone else’s,” he said. “I’ve had plenty of people offering opinions and that’s great and I take as much information in as possible
“Every role I’ve walked into, I back myself to make the right decisions. That’ll happen over the course of the next few weeks both with players and with staff.
“The environment will change, the way we work will change, and we’ll see over time which people fit in and if we need to bring people in to fill gaps then we’ll do that.
“The club’s given me the freedom to do that but I’ll make my own decisions.”