Social media can be a sewer.
Like any technological tool there is scope for its use to educate and inform, as a valuable means to expand knowledge and awareness. Yet its existence also provides a platform for some of the most mind-numbingly stupid people to express opinions and fraudulent information without fear of being held to personal account.
Sadly, thus is the modern world – fuelled by those dangerous little devices we carry around, a world seemingly not about to change any time soon.
Never was the above juxtaposition of technological possibilities more evident in the sporting world than when former Socceroo, Melbourne Victory, Brisbane Roar and Yokohama F. Marinos manager Ange Postecoglou was hired as boss at Celtic FC in Scotland.
Rather bluntly, his appointment was not the most popular decision in Glasgow, and fans of one of the most famous clubs in the United Kingdom facelessly took to Instagram to express their forthright concerns.
After a league shellacking at the hands of Old Firm rival Rangers in 2020-21, the people wanted change – positive change, cash-backed change – in the form of new players. It appears employing an Australian coaching in Japan was not what they had in mind.
A clear European superiority complex laced their initial scepticism about Postecoglou, a man who has never cared less about such commentary. Rather, the 55-year-old simply maps out his vision, draws up a plan and goes about its implementation whether anyone likes it or not.
Such an approach has sustained his managerial career thus far, one that features an ever-growing resume of success that more and more clubs around the world are noticing.
It seems many Celtic fans were unimpressed by that resume or failed to even read it.
The 10 June announcement that Postecoglou would be heading to Scotland for his next challenge was greeted with much venomous humour by some cowardly Celtic supporters.
The Instagram genius that is daraghhanbury simply responded to the announcement with the word “Who” and two laugh emojis, he was well supported by slothgroover_420, who used a trio of thumbs down and poo icons, and mcgovern6222 doubled down on all the emoji fun, using 68 laughing ones to comment on Celtic’s new appointment.
Of course there were also many messages of support, with cries of “support the manager” common among those more measured fans, those willing to give an unproven coach in Europe a chance.
However, johnhunter5590 perhaps accurately captured the frustrated voice of a core group of Celtic fans when he rather poorly wrote, “Just don’t know about this guy think he will be sacked by xmas celtic again going for a cheap option”.
It was hard not to laugh sitting 17,000 kilometres away in Australia and reading such ill-informed nonsense. But that was then and this is now.
While the cynicism around Postecoglou only grew when the Hoops failed to advance past FC Midtjylland in UEFA Champions League second round qualifying in late July, sentiment has swung very quickly since.
The most vocal critics of the manager now have egg smeared across their faces.
After a shaky loss in the opening round of the Scottish League, Celtic have now scored 12 unanswered league goals, trouncing both Dundee and St Mirren by six. The third round of Europa League qualifying was won at a similar canter, with a 7-2 aggregate over Czech club FK Jablonec, and the Europa League play-off stage has begun well with a 2-0 win over Dutch club AZ Alkmaar in the first leg.
Just three days earlier, the opening round league loss to Hearts was reversed in a Scottish Cup second-round fixture, and the six consecutive wins across all competitions appears to have changed the tone emanating from the green and white half of Glasgow.
After Celtic’s most recent win mgbn78_ suggested that “Pep Guardiola has posters of Ange on his wall”. Bhoysreport now worships the manager – “God blesseth the Ange Postecoglith” – and Ciaran_mcc19 announced that “Ange has single handedly saved this club”.
Postecoglou has even received the moniker of ‘Big Ange’ from the supporter base, the ultimate sign of respect, and it appears there may be only one person left in doubt over the credentials and tactical nous he brings to the club.
Former manager Neil Lennon has suggested the turnabout in Celtic’s fortunes are less about the new manager and more about the return of fans. But Celtic people will be seeing through this rather transparent and tactless swipe at Postecoglou and looking forward to what will be the first big test of the Australian’s plan when the second leg of Europa qualifying against Alkmaar midweek is followed by an Old Firm derby this coming Sunday.
Should Rangers fall, Postecoglou’s ascension to saviour will be complete. As a bonus, Postecoglou already has some trust credits in the bank, to be played even if the champions prove too strong for a Celtic team still adjusting to his style of play.
Either way, it looks like our Ange is going to be a hit in Scotland, and perhaps sam.murrayy_ said it best on Instagram when he simply wrote “Ange ❤”.