When Ange Postecoglou arrived at Celtic, the odds were pretty much stacked against him. The club had finished the previous season trophyless and 25 points behind the Rangers. The squad needed a major overhaul with key players like Scott Brown, Odsonne Edouard, Kristoffer Ajer, Ryan Christie and several loan stars leaving. And on top of everything else, the manager’s only stint in Europe before this was at Greek side, Panachaiki.
Thus, it is safe to say that expectations were pretty low when Postecoglou came in. In fact, most people had written the Hoops off completely after they lost three of their first six Premiership games and even many fans believed that Celtic were headed for another trophyless season.
Things took a turn soon though. The club would go on to Scottish League Cup, and have stepped their game up further in the second half of the campaign, and are now sitting six points ahead of the Rangers in the Premiership.
How has Postecoglou overseen such a huge change in such a short amount of time. Didier Agathe seems to have an idea. As reported by the Daily Record, the former Celtic star said:
“When he first came, I felt a little bit sorry for him because he didn’t come with his own staff. But he adapted.
“Now I look at it and think it was very good for him to do that because of the way he has adapted to the club with the people there.
“Now he is in a situation about to win the Treble and to do that in that situation shows he is a great manager. He has come into Celtic, he has had his plans in his mind and he has worked to bring the players to fit into that idea. It has worked.
“He had his vision – and I learned from this in terms of me trying to become a coach or a manager myself – and that is to have your system or your idea and then get the players to fit into it and make it work for the best way.
“The best example of this is Martin. When he came to Celtic, the decision was made about the formation being a 3-5-2. To do this, he brought the players to fit the system and the formation.
“Martin needed defenders for it, so he got Bobo (Balde), Joos (Valgaeren), Stan Varga – players to head the ball who are very strong and big enough to protect the box. Then he went to Paul Lambert and Neil Lennon, who were there to protect the back three.
“Then the guys on the side, like myself, who were there to take people on, get crosses into the box but also to put pressure on the ball.
“Then you have good strikers like Henrik Larsson, players like Stiliyan Petrov, Chris Sutton and Lubo Moravcik who could make space and chances.
“Martin had his idea of how he wanted to play, found the players to put into it and it worked. He won a treble in his first season and Ange can do the same because he has taken his own way and found the players to make it work.”
The former Celtic star has compared that job that Postecoglou has done at Celtic to that of O’Neill a couple of decades back
It is not hard to see the similarities between the jobs that Postecoglou and O’Neill had to do at Celtic.
Both of them arrived under similar circumstances, with the club needing massive changes, after going through very difficult seasons and finishing convincingly behind the Rangers.
O’Neill was able to take that Celtic side and guide them to a Treble in his very first season at the club. And now, Postecoglou has the chance to do the same. The Hoops have already won the Scottish League Cup, are leading the Premiership title race and are in the Scottish Cup semi-finals, where they will take on the Rangers at Hampden Park this weekend.
This article was originally posted here