No matter, Ange Postecoglou is certainly an eager champion of one area of notable growth in the Tynecastle club’s football operation over recent times. The summer recruitment of Kye Rowles from Central Coast Mariners bolstered the Gorgie club’s Australian contingent to three players – the central midfielder joining compatriots Nathaniel Atkinson and Cammy Devlin in Robbie Neilson’s squad. Of course, there might be a natural bias from Postecoglou when assessing the wisdom of mining for talent in his country of upbringing. Undeniable, though, is that the 56-year-old knows a player. His understanding of the Australian psyche convinces him that cinch Premiership clubs would do well to follow the lead of Hearts and make acquisitions from that part of the world. And, equally, that fellow nationals would be well served seeing Scotland as the ideal gateway for building a career in the footballing crucible of Europe.
“I think it’s a good market for Scottish clubs,” said the Celtic manager. “It’s happened in the past and these things maybe go in phases. Five or 10 years ago, there were a few Aussies here at Celtic, Rangers and Hearts. There’s always been a pretty strong Australian influence. Hearts signed Cammy Devlin last year and I thought he was outstanding for them. That probably encouraged them to go back into that market. There’s good value there. You know what you’re getting with Australian footballers. Irrespective of ability, they’re all strong characters who work hard at training and give everything in games.
“There’s certainly some value there and Hearts have picked up some good ones. The others can definitely make an impact there. And Scotland is a good platform for Aussie footballers. It’s a big step in their career, it’s a competitive league and it puts them in the shop window if they have aspirations to go higher. But you still have to perform at a good level here in the Premiership to make sure they’re seen. This is a good first step for these players.”