Ange Postecoglou: The Big Cuddly Bear Finally Shows His Claws.

Image for Ange Postecoglou: The Big Cuddly Bear Finally Shows His Claws.

I’ve lost count of the number of people who have warmly described Ange Postecoglou as a “big teddy bear.”

It’s meant in the nicest possible way, of course, but this guy is not that. Oh yeah, he’s warm, genial, friendly and genuine but there’s a core of steel there, and this man is not to be messed with or underestimated.

In the aftermath of his appointment I spoke to people who knew a bit about him, and I asked them for their impressions of him as a leader. Because that worried me. Could he command a dressing room? Some people can’t.

Some people come across as “too nice” and without European football prestige how could he cope to automatically have respect?

I was assured that it would not be an issue. Ange would rule the roost.

Not only were those people right about the dressing room, but Ange swiftly moved in and made it clear that he was upending the planned direction of the whole club. Out went the idea of director of football. Out went any changes over which he did not have a say.

In midweek, we heard Ange bellowing from the touchline. It was a glimpse of the man in public who the players see in private, the man who respects them all as individuals and cares for them as his charges but who does not emotionally connect with them, preferring to stand off a little because he knows he has to be ruthless at times.

Slowly but surely it’s been coming out.

The big cuddly bear has finally shown his claws.

In the last week he’s told the players that top of the league they may be, but they aren’t near where he wants them.

He has told them not to blame any dips in the atmosphere at games for going off the boil.

He has reminded them that they aren’t winners until the trophy is actually on the shelf.

This is Ange as we’ve not seen him before, as the relentless task master, as the hard as nails managerial presence who is pushing this side harder than ever.

And I have to say, it’s been glorious seeing it, because up until now we’ve only seen it in flashes in front of the media.

But this week he’s been more driven and demanding than at any time, in public, since taking over. He sees where this team is going and he wants to get them there as soon as he can. He has the taste for success here in Scotland and he wants it all.

I love seeing Ange like this, and I can easily imagine what he’s like in training or in the dressing room. You can see the results on the pitch too, as this team sharpens its weaponry and becomes more skilled at putting other sides away.

Tonight will be a big test for us, but it’s one he seems to relish.

I am so looking forward to this game.

Share this article


  • Garry Cowan says:

    To be perfectly honest I couldn’t care less about European games the league is what matters most at this moment in time

  • Martin H. says:

    Look forward to every game under Ange, never know what team he’ll play, but it always seems to work.

  • john clarke says:

    communication transactions must be made to celtic players as adult to adults not as boss to slave. roaring at adult players in the long run results in revolt. i would like to know if the celtic squad contributed to the decision regarding competing in the uefa conference league. they should have. young players are thrilled. Giorgios is rapt. there would be senior players with families who would prefer to win the premiership and enter the CHAMPIONSHIP that way, not start at the bottom. also has Michael and his accountant undertaken impassive unbiased cost:benefit analysis runs using possibilities and risks to the whole business. Ange has stated his opinion…. benefits to players particularly the less experienced ones through accelerated improvement and the future success of celtic teams. you can factor these costs and benefits into various parametric cash flow budgets over at least 8 years. Question…is participation in the conference league self financing? it will cost less to go the other way, win the SPL and get a start in the CHAMPIONS league. many of James’ readers seem to agree with his story highlighting the unknowns. Ange has buckets of common sense. MICHAEL has the economic nous. It doesn’t matter anyway, for this season. UP THE HOOPS!

  • Damian says:

    What’s the logic of saying there are no further plans for a director of football? Has anyone ever said this? Ange certainly hasn’t. And in any case, it shouldn’t be his decision. If we let that fester, all we’re doing is setting the scene for an avoidable disaster when he leaves, which he surely will.

    There seems a daft notion that a DoF is like Levin at Hearts or Dalglish with us, twenty years ago: playing a lot of golf and holding the manager’s hand. That’s nonsense. Man City has a DoF, Liverpool has a DoF, Salzburg, Ajax, Benfica. EVERY good club has one. Not making that commitment is itself a commitment to backward mediocrity. The DoF is continuity and planning beyond the term of a single manager. It is essential as a football fan to not just assume but know that managers will leave. So what happens next? Clubs with a good DoF know, clubs without don’t – and they also end up spending a lot more than they have to.

    If Celtic has genuinely shelved this (which, again, no one has ever said), then the self-harming tendency of the club leadership is as bad as its ever been.

Comments are closed.