Ange Postecoglou Celtic impact rated out of 10 as 'biggest surprise' leads to Pat Bonner praise

There is one word to which Pat Bonner regularly returns when assessing the impact Ange Postecoglou has made across his six months at the Celtic helm: remarkable.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has left club legend Pat Bonner impressed with his work thus far. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has left club legend Pat Bonner impressed with his work thus far. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

The Parkhead club’s celebrated former keeper doesn’t offer up such a glowing testimonial simply for the transformation effected by the Australian on Celtic’s on-field fortunes. Even if, in itself, the Irishman gives the 56-year-old an “eight out of 10” scorecard as a result of the profound progress made. Reflected in Postecoglou mounting a serious championship challenge, capturing the League Cup and integrating a host of successful signings - crowned by his identifying of now talismanic striker Kyogo Furuhashi - despite inheriting a fracturing squad that had ended up 25 points behind Rangers following a first barren season for the club since 2009-10. And a squad that would be shorn of key performers Odsonne Edouard, Kristoffer Ajer and Ryan Christie inside the opening weeks of the season.

Bonner’s commendations for the Celtic manager revolve around the manner he has presided over a dramatic turnaround. He marvels at how Postecoglou has deployed force of personality and a holistic approach to be a one-man remoulder of the club top to bottom.

“He [Postecoglou] seems to handle a lot of it himself, which I have found perhaps has been the biggest surprise for a lot of us,” said the former Republic of Ireland international. “He seems to be something of a father figure. He was talking about the young lad Joey Dawson after [he made his debut in the Boxing Day win] at St Johnstone and was talking about how the B team plays in the same way. So that means he has a big influence throughout the club, which is a big thing to do when you consider where he’s come from and so on. He’s taken an awful lot on his shoulders. He’s had to deal with everything and he’s done it. He hasn’t complained about it and he’s got on with it – all those type of things. I think, from where they were to where they are now, is remarkable.

“They are also playing good football. That’s the other point. It’s not as if they are scraping through. They are playing decent football. Yes, maybe there’s games that they could finish off better. The issue is always going to be the strikers if Kyogo isn’t fit. So far, he’s been saying ‘this is the way I play and I’m not going to change it.’ Sunday was the day he changed it. He went with a three at the back with Liam Scales playing higher up the park and Josip Juranovic on the other side. He then played the two up front. That was a wee tweak that we hadn’t seen before.

“If he could get a couple of windows and bring in few more players and keep up the momentum, he’ll be doing really well. Winning the first trophy is massive for any Celtic manager. If they hadn’t won the League Cup final against Hibs, then it would have been a big disappointment. We’d then be saying ‘he’s doing OK but …’ However, once you get that trophy in the cabinet and are still in touch and challenging in the league, the picture looks different.”

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