'I’m not in that ball-park, mate': Ange Postecoglou on Celtic adulation and why he is slow on fan walk
For reverence, the transformative figure for the entire Scottish game that was European Cup winner and nine-in-a-row colossus Jock Stein will never be rivalled. However, for the sheer ability to have the entire Celtic support eating out of his hands, the bond Postecoglou has established with his public – as witnessed in the joyous, celebratory interactions with fans at the conclusion of Celtic’s Scottish Cup semi-final win over Rangers last Sunday – feels like it is nudging towards that ballpark. It is in a manner that feels as if it has the potential to be more profound than even for Celtic treble-winning managers Martin O’Neill and Brendan Rodgers in their pomp. Two men, along with Neil Lennon, he is on course to follow in Stein’s footsteps through leading the club to a clean sweep on the domestic honours. Yet, if you want a slapdown from the 57-year-old, all that is required is to dare suggest as much.
“Firstly I’m not in that ball-park, mate. I’m not even in that suburb, that estate. I’m well on the far outskirts of big Jock’s standing,” said Postecoglou. “I don’t take that for granted either, the way the supporters have got behind this team, and by extension got behind me. Not just this season but from the beginning of last season, that has been truly special. I felt they have embraced me and willed me to have the success we have had. Of course, they want me to be successful because it means their football club is successful but it is not just that. And it is not just me, it has been the way this football club has embraced my whole family, particularly the supporters, that is truly special.
“Days like last Sunday, you want to capture it as much as possible. It is the reason – apart from being slow – I take my time going around the field. I don’t want to miss that, miss that moment, because one day it will be gone and I don’t want it to be something cloudy in my thought space, I want it to be clear. I love the way the support have not only embraced me, but this team. We have been on a great journey and I hope there will be some memorable times ahead.”