Friday was expected to be the day that Eddie Howe took charge of a new Celtic dawn. It didn’t turn out that way.
Instead rumours started to emerge that the deal was off, confirmed by Celtic when they issued a statement later in the day, a strange move by the club. Celtic’s communication with fans has been criticised this year and then for them to admit the Howe deal is off, meaning anybody who comes in now know they are not the first choice was just a weird thing for Celtic to do.
In the statement they announced that they were in talks with another candidate and expected an appointment soon. Late Friday night and Ange Postecoglou was the front runner with various reports suggesting the Greek born Australian was taking over.
I’ll be honest, I had never heard of Postecoglou and my initial feeling was of dismay and anger, not towards the Australian but towards those running the club. If Postecoglou gets the job it will be a hard sell for most fans and the resentment that has been lingering all year towards the board could worsen.
Instead of just criticising a possible Postecoglou appointment, I went away and researched what I could about him, spoke to a few people and watched some video interviews of his. My dismay has turned to cautious optimism that he could be a good fit.
There has been a lot of hyperbole from the Celtic world to this news, are we being guilty of what we often criticise fans of the EPL of doing, looking down our noses at other leagues and thinking that life revolves around the EPL?
Eddie Howe would have made a good appointment, I believe. Yet he has managed Bournemouth and Burnley, not exactly big clubs, if rumours are to be believed he was happy to take the job but members of his prospective backroom team weren’t, so it took Howe until now to find that out, highly unlikely. I expect to see Howe rolled out as a coach of an EPL team in coming weeks. If he couldn’t talk his trusted backroom team to follow him then was he the man for the job?
Plan B would have originally involved Enzo Maresca, however he has become the Parma head coach. Maresca may have a more recognisable name due to his playing exploits but he has only ever been a number 2 or an U23 coach.
Postecoglou is clearly more experienced than Maresca. He has international experience and has been willing to move abroad from his native Australia, by all reports, Howe was homesick in Burnley.
If you look to the reaction from Japan and Australia, the feeling is that he would be a good appointment.
I spoke with Japan Times journalist, Dan Orlowitz, who believes Postecoglou is a gem.
“I’ve said it to everyone who’s asked me so far but you all are getting a gem and honestly all the hand-wringing and clothes-rending over these reports are making the Celtic fanbase look a little unhinged.” Orlowitz said.
“I understand the pressure that comes with the Celtic post, but he had to beat 17 teams to win the J1, which for my money is one of the most competitive leagues in the world.
“Marinos finished 4 points above relegation in 2018 and the fans stuck with him – and they were rewarded for doing so with an incredible season and their first league title in 15 years.
“Back him and you will be rewarded. It’ll be a bumpy ride in the beginning but it’ll never be boring.”
Australian broadcaster Daniel Garb took to Twitter to say, “Fears around Ange not being given time are understandable but he’s inheriting a squad superior to most in Scotland.
“One presser and fans will know what he’s about. There should be confidence that he wins over the players quickly and therefore no reason to suggest he won’t start well.”
Aussie journalist, Sacha Pisani also took to Twitter to herald our potential new gaffer.
Pisani said, “Celtic could do a lot worse than Ange Postecoglou. A winner wherever he goes, changing the landscape of his teams. Great move if it does happen.”
My main concern, is that a lot of commentators and two of the above have mentioned, give him time and he will come good. Unfortunately for Ange, Celtic need to be winning from the off. Its paramount that we win the league next season with guaranteed entry to the Champions League groups stage up for grabs. It’s clear from reading about Postecoglou that he likes his teams to play attacking football, which will go down well with the fans.
If Postecoglou is appointed we should back him, none of this is of his making and we could be pleasantly surprised.
Mick Kane hails from Glasgow. He has been hooked on Celtic since he went to his first game when he was 7. Celtic beat Hamilton 8-3 at Celtic Park on the 3rd of January 1987. His favourite player at the time, Brian McClair scored four goals.
He started going regular as a 16 year old when Celtic played at Hampden for the season, being a Southsider it meant a short train journey to get to Hampden. From then he has had a season ticket travelled around Europe for games as Celtic became the dominant force in Scottish football again. A nice change from growing up during Rangers run to 9 in a row.