Former Celtic wing-back Didier Agathe has compared the early stint of Ange Postecoglou’s time as Hoops boss to ex-manager Martin O’Neill.
Agathe knows all about O’Neill’s time in Glasgow, having arrived at the club under the Northern Irishman before helping the side on their way to a treble in 2000 as he brought success back to the club.
Speaking to the Daily Record, Agathe admitted he sees similarities between the two, with the way Ange has turned the club’s fortunes round over the past year, praising the 56-year old for the way he adapted to life in Glasgow as Celtic boss.
“From the outside, it seems he loves the club, he loves football and, most importantly, he loves the people.
“When he first came, I felt a little bit sorry for him because he didn’t come with his own staff. But he adapted.
“Now I look at it and think it was very good for him to do that because of the way he has adapted to the club with the people there.
“Now he is in a situation about to win the Treble, and to do that in that situation shows he is a great manager. He has come into Celtic, he has had his plans in his mind, and he has worked to bring the players to fit into that idea. It has worked.
“He had his vision – and I learned from this in terms of me trying to become a coach or a manager myself – and that is to have your system or your idea and then get the players to fit into it and make it work for the best way.
“The best example of this is Martin. When he came to Celtic, the decision was made about the formation being a 3-5-2. To do this, he brought the players to fit the system and the formation.
“Martin needed defenders for it, so he got Bobo (Balde), Joos (Valgaeren), Stan Varga – players to head the ball who are very strong and big enough to protect the box. Then he went to Paul Lambert and Neil Lennon, who were there to protect the back three.
“Then the guys on the side, like myself, who were there to take people on, get crosses into the box but also to put pressure on the ball.
“Then you have good strikers like Henrik Larsson, players like Stiliyan Petrov, Chris Sutton and Lubo Moravcik who could make space and chances.
“Martin had his idea of how he wanted to play, found the players to put into it, and it worked. He won a treble in his first season, and Ange can do the same because he has taken his own way and found the players to make it work.”
Although, of course, it is far too early to be comparing the success of both managers in Glasgow, it is interesting to hear this comparison from someone who was involved in O’Neill’s successful Celtic side.
Looking at the way the fortunes have changed, there are very-much similarities in the jobs both had to do, going through a rebuild of sorts to bring success back to the club once again.
Hopefully, we are able to see Ange end the season in a similar fashion by lifting a treble, which we could take a huge step towards with a victory this Sunday.