The long wait is over for fans of Glasgow Celtic Football Club. Four months after Neil Lennon resigned, with the club’s dominance of Scottish football over and city rivals Rangers a foregone conclusion to win the championship, the club’s board finally has its man. They needed someone to come in and start the difficult job of rebuilding a side that appeared to be bereft of both confidence and direction for the majority of the last season. In their infinite wisdom, they’ve decided that the right man for the job is Greek-Australian coach Ange Postecoglou.
Unless you’re a dedicated Celtic fan and you’ve been following this story with interest as it’s developed over the past few months, the problem you’re probably asking right now is, “who on Earth is Ange Postecoglou?” – and you’d be right to ask. The 55-year-old coach is hardly a high-profile appointment. As a player, he never played outside Australia and only ever managed four appearances for the country’s international side. As a manager, he’s coached exclusively in Australia and Greece, save for his most recent three-year spell as the manager of Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan. He’s won the Australian league and the Japanese J-League as a coach, but he’s never before been involved with such a high-profile team.
Online and in chat forums, Celtic fans are trying to put a positive spin on this announcement. They point out that Arsenal fans didn’t originally want Arsene Wenger when he arrived from Japan in the 1990s on account of the fact that nobody had ever heard of him before. Wenger went on to revolutionize English football, take Arsenal to the final of the Champions League, and win multiple Premier League titles in a stay that extended beyond two decades. He left the club in his late 60s, but his replacements Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta have struggled so badly that there are still some Gunners fans who want him to return now at the age of 71. If Postecoglu can achieve even half of what Wenger achieved, he’ll become a Celtic legend, and everyone who’s criticizing the appointment right now will be made to look stupid.
Comparing Postecoglou to Wenger is certainly one way of looking at the appointment. However, the other way of looking at it is that Postecoglou definitely wasn’t the club’s first choice. For more than two months after Lennon’s departure, it was rumoured – even assumed, in some cases – that former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe would be taking the reigns at Celtic Park. Howe definitely held talks with the board and appeared to have agreed on a deal at one point, only to back out because of an as-yet-undisclosed disagreement. When that happened, there were rumours that the board sounded out former Liverpool, Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez. Only when they’d received firm negative responses from elsewhere did Celtic turn to Postecoglou. The long wait to appoint a new manager coupled with the desperate need to have someone in to provide direction as the transfer window opens makes this look a lot like a panicked appointment.
Celtic need something spectacular to close the gap on Rangers. Their highly-rated coach Steven Gerrard isn’t going anywhere for the time being, and the club went undefeated in the league for the entire season. They’re expected to strengthen their squad over the summer and will be the team to beat next season. Emboldened by Celtic’s struggles, other teams in the Scottish top-flight believe that the second spot is up for grabs. Aberdeen – who’ve just signed Scott Brown – are one of them. Postecoglou will be under pressure immediately to get results, and there’s nothing in his resume to suggest he’s capable of getting them. Rather than being a new Arsene Wenger, the odds suggest it’s more likely he’s a new Tony Mowbray or Jozef Venglos.
Perhaps discussing the odds is the right way to go about assessing this appointment. Playing safe probably wasn’t an option for Celtic this time around – they need to make drastic improvements, and that involves taking some risks. They know all about that. Aside from Liverpool, Celtic Football Club is the only team in the world that has its own online slot game available at internet-based casinos. Anyone who’s played that online slots game knows that you come up a loser more often than you come up a winner, but when you do win, it makes the losses worthwhile. That’s the story – and also the appeal – of every online slots game at Rose Slots Canada. If you want to land the jackpot, you have to be prepared to take the risks that come along with chasing it. Celtic’s owners have placed their bet – and it’s a big one. Come August, the reels will start spinning, and it won’t take long to find out whether they’ve lost their bankroll or they’re in the money.
If there’s anything that can be said in favor of bringing in an untested coach, it’s that things at Celtic Park couldn’t conceivably get much worse. When Neil Lennon belatedly resigned in February, it felt akin to a wounded animal being put out of its misery. Celtic’s players appeared to have lost any belief that they were capable of winning the league even before last Christmas and played like it. Such is the current strength of Rangers that there’s a genuine risk that the blue half of Glasgow might dominate the next decade of Scottish football just as strongly as Celtic dominated the last decade. Holding onto Gerrard will be key to that for Rangers – he’s bound to end up as Liverpool manager eventually – but Celtic needs to be standing ready whenever that moment happens. If they can regain the title before that point, it will be a bonus. Ange Postecoglou has nothing to lose. Most fans expect very little from him anyway. This is the chance of a lifetime – one he’s waited for his whole career – and his fate is in his own hands. The green half of Glasgow is desperate for him to succeed. A lot of people will be eating humble pie if he does.