Ange Postecoglou answers queries over his lack of cups as Celtic opportunity looms

The CV of Ange Postecoglou the club manager would appear to have a notable absence. One that could be read as suggesting an issue in precisely the sort of occasion facing his Celtic side in the Premier Sports Cup final against Hibs on Sunday.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou,
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou,

The 56-year-old is a multiple title winner, enjoying five championship triumphs over his stints with South Melbourne, Brisbane Roar and Yokahama F Marinos. What doesn’t appear on his honours list as a manager, though, are any national cup wins. Yet, Postecoglou believes his record in Australia provides ample proof he knows precisely how to come out on top in winner-takes-all trophy contests – revelling in such all-or nothing, knee-knocking scenarios.

“In Australia, the league is decided by one game,” the Celtic manager said. “I won two championships as a player and four as a manager and all of them were done in a final game. There’s a final system there, you play a grand final and that’s how you win.

“The championships have all come in big games for me. My success has mainly been in one-off games. Japan was the first time I’d won a league on a home-and-away basis.

All the other success, even the Asian Cup with the [Australian] national team, was done in a one-off game. That’s been my experience and out of all of them, I’ve only lost one, the last one I had in Japan. We lost the League Cup in my first year in Yokohama [2018], 1-0 [to Shonan Bellmar] and that was the first time I hadn’t tasted success in a big game, so it was certainly an experience.

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“One thing I know about big games is that all of them have had some sort of unexpected twist within them. Something that will test you. I’ve got no doubt Sunday will be the same. I’m looking forward to that. I’ve always loved the big games. It’s a bit unusual but in Australia that’s how your champions get decided, so I’m well-versed in what [one-off finals] mean.

“I do enjoy the pressure of that, because it’s what I’ve been brought up in. It’s how we decide our champions, in all our sports in Australia. Aussie rules, rugby, they’re all decided in one-off games – it’s just the nature of sport in Australia. Bcause I’ve grown up in it, I’ve loved them. They are always big occasions, your whole season is on the line for 90 minutes - which to some people sounds bizarre – but it’s just the way it was. I loved the fact that everything got decided in 90 or 120 minutes or, on at least two occasions, on penalties. I love that theatre of a big game.”