The reasons behind Celtic's rebirth under Ange Postecoglou

Celtic have been declared a team in the “embryonic” stage by their manager Ange Postecoglou, even as they have found stirring form.

Celtic keeper Joe Hart passes on instructions to Callum McGregor, with the club captain stating that the 34-year-old's standard-setting on and off pitch, and his humility, have been of crucial importance in Ange Postecoglou's revitalisation of the Parkhead side. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Yet, the shared vision and the vivaciousness being demonstrated by the Parkhead side has club captain Callum McGregor believing Celtic are already reborn under the Australian following a summer that witnessed 12 new arrivals. “For so many new guys to come into the building, we’re such a tight group already,” he said. “There’s great camaraderie in the squad, great personalities and real humble boys as well, which you need at this club. You need to show humility all the time. When you’re successful, when you lose, when you draw, you stay calm and you stay humble. And I think it makes it so much easier when you’ve personalities like that. But, it’s such a good group and I still think it’s early days. We’re still finding out just how good we can be. The challenge for us is to keep going and continue to respond well to the demands the manager’s putting on us.”

The Celtic captain believes the presence of Joe Hart, the vastly experienced former England keeper, has been central to the fusion of so many disparate characters and nationalities - the 34-year-old well-versed in establishing squad cohesion in such circumstances through his time with Manchester City. Indeed the burgeoning influence of the Celtic keeper was illustrated not only with his two pivotal saves in the club’s scintillating 3-1 win over Hibs the other night, but how he reacted in the Easter Road dressing room afterwards.

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“He’s been first class,” the Celtic midfielder said. “Big massive moments in the game he makes two brilliant saves. Every single player congratulated him. He just said ‘That’s my job, I’ve got to keep the ball out of the net.’ It tells you how humble he is as well, which is brilliant. In those moments you need big saves – and he’s been first class at that. And with the standards he sets every day for the younger lads to follow as well. The importance of that can’t be overlooked.”

No-one is underestimating the impact made by Postecoglou. McGregor suggests he has put together a pool of players that, whatever their previous experiences, are utterly committed to being schooled in the Australian’s football tenets so that they can put his free-flowing attacking philosophies into practice. “It’s been brilliant, the way he sees the game, those quick combinations, trying to outnumber the opposition and when you break through, you break through at speed,” the Celtic captain said.

“So, you’re always learning. No matter that Joe is 35, he’s still learning. The younger ones are still learning. So, as a footballer that’s the beauty of the game – you never stop learning. As long as you commit yourself properly to it then you will continue to learn and grow as a player and grow as a squad. I think that’s what we’re doing. The manager is placing demands on us and I think you can see the players responding to that and responding to the challenge. There are so many young ones in this team to develop. So, once we get that right, who’s to say how good we can be?”

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