Ange Postecoglou has had a challenging six months in charge as Celtic manager. It certainly hasn’t been plain sailing for the former Australian national team boss.
He has had to cope with a lengthy injury list and a Covid outbreak, while bringing in a dozen new players and getting them to gel and play his high tempo, all action, pressing style of play.
Despite all the trials and tribulations that have been thrown the Australian’s way, he has guided Celtic to the first trophy of the season and are currently six points behind at the top of the league table.
The Celtic boss will know that reinforcements and improvements will need to be made in the second half of the season if Celtic are to wrestle the league title away from Rangers.
Difficult First Six Months for Ange Postecoglou
Ange Postecoglou Looking to Emulate Wim Jansen
There are many parallels between Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou and Wim Jansen; the manager who helped stop Rangers’ ten in a row bid 23 years ago.
Both managers were largely unknown to the Celtic support and both had slow starts to their Celtic managerial career. Wim Jansen lost his first two league games. Meanwhile, Postecoglou lost three of his first six league games. Both won a trophy at the first time of asking. Both signed an unheralded striker who went on to be a huge fan favourite.
Postecoglou will be hoping that the comparisons continue and they can turn around a six-point deficit at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
Jansen’s title-winning side were four points behind Rangers ahead of a crucial New Year’s Old Firm derby. Celtic won 2-0 which proved to be a crucial victory as the Hoops went on to deny Rangers ten consecutive league titles. The Australian knows it will take more than omens for Celtic to turn this season’s title race around.
Celtic’s New Fan Favourite
The big Australian has quickly proved to be a fan favourite. His attacking, pressing, all-action style of play quickly got the fans onside. Also, his no-nonsense approach with the media has only endeared him to the Celtic support. He is someone who doesn’t take fools gladly.
His judgement has also impressed the Celtic support. His signing of Kyogo Furhashi from J League side Vissel Kobe has proved to be inspired. Kyogo has also impressed the Celtic Park faithful and has become the club’s talisman. He has scored 16 goals in 26 appearances so far this season.
The loan signing of Jota has been another great addition to the Celtic squad. Their fans will be eager to make it permanent as soon as possible. Israeli winger Liel Abada has also been another solid addition and at 20-years-old is only going to get better.
Despite the positive additions to the squad, Ange Postecoglou knows more reinforcements are needed in January.
Huge January Transfer Window for Celtic
Over the last few months, Celtic have been ravaged by injury, in particular in the forward areas. The likes of Kyogo, Jota, David Turnbull, Albian Ajeti, James Forrest and Georgios Giakoumakis have all spent time on the sidelines.
Celtic lack the strength in depth to cope with such a lengthy injury list. Postecoglou will know that the club are still rebuilding and it will take a couple of transfer windows to get the squad that he wants.
The lack of strength in depth showed when Celtic were held to a goalless draw against St Mirren. Due to a number of injuries, Celtic were unable to play a recognised striker. They also have a lack of depth on both wings. If Jota, Forrest and Liel Abada are injured there is a dramatic drop off in quality replacing them.
Mikey Johnston is a good talent but his final ball is constantly lacking. At 22-years-old, the jury on whether he is good enough to play for Celtic is firmly out. Owen Moffat, who also played against St Mirren, is another promising prospect but is currently nowhere near the level Celtic need.
Celtic Linked with Japanese Trio
Reports suggest that Celtic have been linked with Japanese trio Daizen Maeda, Reo Hatate and Yosuke Ideguchi as Postecoglou looks to raid the J League. All three will help strengthen Celtic’s squad. However, more is needed if they are to turn the title race in their favour.
Overall, it has been a decent first six months for Postecoglou at Celtic. A trophy is in the cabinet, Celtic are still in European competition post-Christmas and are just six points behind in the Scottish Premiership.
Considering, Celtic are still in the first phase of a huge rebuild, the Australian will be satisfied with the progress made. However, he knows there is work to be done.
If he can turn the title race around it would be Celtic’s greatest title triumph since Wim Jansen in 1998.