Incoming Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou may be an unknown quantity to many Hoops fans, but he brings a winning mentality to Glasgow that will be required to wrestle the title back from Steven Gerrard’s Rangers.
It would be fair to say that a vocal minority of the Celtic Park fanbase are far from happy with the idea of appointing a coach whose entire managerial success has come from a nation where football is, at best, the fourth most popular sport.
That nation is Australia, where Postecoglou has developed a reputation as a serial winner in the last 15 years.
Granted, Australian 'soccer' supporters are a far cry from the frantic and tribal following that Scottish football enjoys, but should The Bhoys faithful be approaching this new era with a sense of optimism, as opposed to the current doom and gloom surrounding the 51-time league champions?
We’ll make that very case in answering the question on the lips of many north of the border…
Who Is Ange Postecoglou?
One thing is for certain when answering this question – he wasn’t Celtic’s first choice to take over from Neil Lennon.
The Scottish giants were in negotiations with former Bournemouth man Eddie Howe, only for him to reject the position after weeks of talks.
It wasn’t a great look for Celtic as a club, but in turning their attentions to Postecoglou, they may well have unearthed a hidden gem (in Europe at least).
Upon retiring from professional football with a couple of National Soccer League titles with South Melbourne and four Australia appearances, he was appointed as head coach of his former club.
He would lead the club to consecutive league titles in 1998 and 1999, as well as an Oceania Club Championship that would result in a FIFA Club World Championship against Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United.
A seven-year stint managing Australia’s youth teams, as well as a brief flirt with the Greek third division, resulted in signing a deal to become the boss at Brisbane Roar in 2009.
After selling some of their star players and implementing his own possession-based style of play, his entertaining outfit were soon labelled “Roarcelona”.
To this day, the Greek manager’s 36-game unbeaten run remains an A-League record, with the club winning the Championship in 2011 and 2012 as well as the Premiership in 2011 after a 4-2 victory over the Central Coast Mariners in the Grand Final.
In 2013, he was appointed as head coach of the Australian national team and tasked with guiding them into a new era.
The following year would see Australia win their first ever Asian Cup after beating South Korea in the final.
He would resign after leading Australia to the 2018 World Cup before taking up the position as manager of Japanese outfit Yokohama F Marinos. In 2019, Postecoglou guided the club to their first J League title in 15 years and became the first Australian to win a league title in Japan.
Are you starting to see what we mean when we say he is a serial winner?
His talents haven’t gone completely unnoticed in Europe, with former Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers an admirer of the 55-year-old.
In 2013, Rodgers’ Liverpool side faced Postecoglou's Melbourne Victory in front of 95,000 spectators, and despite the Premier League outfit running out 2-0 winners, the Northern Irishman was full of praise for his opposite number.
“Their coach is outstanding,” Rodgers claimed. “I’ve had a couple of chats with him, and to see his team play, he’s very similar to myself and he believes the game should be played in a certain way.”
If history has taught followers of Postecoglou anything, it’s that he isn’t afraid to shake things up when taking on a new role. In fact, it is something that he has insisted on in many of his roles in the past.
A mass exodus of players followed upon his arrival in Brisbane, with national icon Harry Kewell sent on his way upon the Greek’s arrival in Melbourne in 2012.
He clearly likes to implement his own style and has experience in forming new sides in order to do so.
That should be music to the ears of Celtic fans, with Odsonne Edouard on the verge of a move to Leicester, star defender Kristoffer Ajer expecting to leave, and decade-long captain Scott Brown already signed with Aberdeen.
This is a summer of change at Celtic Park, of that there is no doubt. In Postecoglou, however, they may have just stumbled upon the perfect man to take them back to the top of Scottish football.