'You were probably running a book on how long I'd last' Ange Postecoglou on defying December doubters and the Celtic duo in for 'a tough few days'
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou believes his Premier Sports Cup success is one in the eye for doubters who had a book on him being out the door of the club by now.
The Australian, appointed in early June, now feels he has set a platform that can be “significant” for his players and the club’s support in justifying him “selling” them hope since his arrival –even when there was little initially for anyone to buy across a rocky opening six weeks of the campaign.
An emotional Australian, who believes the trophy success sends out the message his team “can do special things” became tearful hugging his wife Georgia by the side of the pitch amidst thunderous celebrations following the edgy 2-1 final win over Hibs. And as the normally garrilous 56-year-old admitted to “struggling to find words this time” in digesting his first Celtic honour at the earliest possible juncture, he homed in how strength can be drawn from the club’s turnaround in fortunes.
“It can be significant for this group,” he said, the mix of new arrivals and a never-ending sequence of injuries causing a constant swirl round his first season. “And for us as a club, I think. It was really important that right from the start, I tried to sell them some hope. It didn’t go smoothly at the start, I know that.
“We’ve had some tough challenges and the results at the start weren’t great. But I needed to give them some hope that good times were around the corner. Success turns that hope into something more tangible now.
“It’s the manner in which you do it that counts just as much as success itself. This club has had a lot of success over many years, but a lot of times it’s been the dominant team. Well, we weren’t dominant at the start of the year. I doubt very much that many people thought we could have any success, particularly this early.
“Without sounding arrogant, I have never doubted myself or wavered in my own belief. I understood when I took this role what people thought. All of you were probably running a book on how long I’d last. A few of you probably had December, but that’s now gone.
“It just didn’t affect me and that’s not arrogance. I’m just really passionate about what I do. The more obstacles put in my path the more I lean against it.
“That’s what gets me going. When it’s all smooth, I get really irritated. I have moved on in every job after I’ve had success because I’ve felt ‘well, what’s the next challenge.’ But there have been challenges so far and there are many more to come. I love that.
“[I’ll celebrate] with my beautiful wife and my boys, the people closest to me. I’ll take a snapshot as a memory and file it away.
"I smell like I’ve been drinking, but that was the players [spraying me] – particularly [Josip] Juranovic and [Joe] Hart who are in for some tough sessions in the next few days…
“I want to know in 20-years time, if I bump into one of these boys and talk about this day, I remember it clearly. I’ll get myself a glass of scotch –the finest from here– and have a quiet drink.”