Celtic’s preparations for their crunch midweek Champions League qualifier against Midtjylland took a knock with a 6-2 friendly defeat by West Ham at Parkhead.
Former Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has won the top job at Scottish soccer giants Celtic, saying he will do everything to get the famous club back on top.
The former Socceroos boss is on his way to Glasgow after a successful stint with Yokohama F. Marinos, where he won a Japanese league title in 2019.
After weeks of speculation, Celtic on Thursday night announced the news of the 55-year-old’s appointment on a 12-month rolling contract.
“The opportunity that has been given to me is one of the greatest honours in football and the responsibility to lead our magnificent football club into the future is one that I will cherish dearly,” Postecoglou said.
“Celtic is one of ‘the’ names in world football, of that there is no doubt – a giant of a club, a proper footballing institution and so much more – real history, real substance, real authenticity and real soul.
“I know Celtic is a true way of life for so many people and I know the demands which come with this position – I am ready to do all I can to meet those demands.
“I will be doing everything I can to get our great club back on top and, at the same time, deliver the kind of football which our fans appreciate.
“We want to entertain our fans and we want to win, these are the objectives which I always set myself and which I now begin work on.”
Celtic’s statement described him as a “modern, progressive coach with exciting, attacking football as his philosophy”.
It continues a meteoric rise for Postecoglou, who began his coaching career in Australian domestic ranks and now takes on one of the biggest jobs in the European game.
After winning two titles with South Melbourne in the former National Soccer League, Postecoglou bedded down his coaching pedigree by taking Brisbane Roar to two A-League championships.
A brief stint at Melbourne Victory was next before the Socceroos came calling.
Postecoglou led the national team at the 2014 World Cup, but his crowning achievement came the following year when Australia lifted the Asian Cup on home soil.
His success put him in the sights of Celtic, who are desperate for a 52nd title.
Postecoglou’s first mission will be taking back the Scottish Premier League title from arch-rivals Rangers, who are coached by legendary Liverpool figure Steven Gerrard.
“Ange is a manager we have known about for a number of years and someone who has been prominent in our thoughts for some time,” outgoing Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell said.
“He is a great coach who has attractive, winning football in his DNA.
“He has an excellent record, he is a very strong personality and someone with a real desire and passion to take Celtic forward.”
Socceroos great John Aloisi this week labelled Postecoglou’s looming appointment at Celtic as a game-changer for the sport in Australia.
Upon Celtic announcing the news, social media lit up with excitement about Postecoglou’s opportunity to manage a fabled club.
Postecoglou will have little time to settle in because Celtic begin their European campaign on July 20 or 21.
And they face a tough task to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in four seasons, given they could cross paths with some major players in the non-champions route.
Postecoglou will be able to lead Celtic into Europe, though, after the club convinced UEFA to hand their new manager an exemption on rules requiring bosses to possess a UEFA Pro-Licence – which Postecoglou does not hold – to manage in European competition.
– with PA