Soccer Football - Scottish Premiership - Celtic v Rangers - Celtic Park, Glasgow, Scotland, Britain - February 2, 2022 Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst shakes hands with Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou after the match Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

The Celtic board delivered ANGE POSTECOGLOU to much scepticism from inside and outside of Celtic back in June 2021. But what he’s managed to do in 18 months has been outstanding. The people outside the club laughing at the appointment have had their mouths firmly shut.

There has been so much to digest in the last two seasons it’s difficult to stop and take a breath. The winter World Cup affords us a moment to take stock, and on the week when Ibrox boss Giovanni van Bronkhorst has been given his marching orders, my mind continually drifts to one game that I can’t help but think set all this in motion.

The result read – Celtic 3-0 Rangers.

A cold night in February 2022 when we had just come out of a COVID circuit breaker (Yes, that was just at the start of THIS year.) Celtic took to the field knowing a win would put them top of the league; a defeat would put us five points behind our rivals. Ange’s fledgling new side had questions to answer, and there were so many pundits who doubted they had any answers.

The bhoys had lost 1-0 at Ibrox in Ange’s first Glasgow Derby. For context, it was such a tight game, and despite Ange having half a team, along with starting players who would be out the door 24 hours after the defeat (Edouard and Christie) we weren’t a million miles away.

However, our form was inconsistent, finding ourselves seven points behind the COVID season champions. A draw at St Mirren Park days away from Christmas further reinforced the notion this Celtic team wasn’t ready to challenge. The football shutdown came into play shortly after.

Gio had come in to replace Steven Gerrard, who, from the outside, jumped at the first half-decent offer he was given. The Dutchman must have thought he’d won a watch. Inheriting a side that currently held the title, ahead in the league by six points, with their main rivals at the beginning of the biggest rebuild in more than a decade,

Once football came back after the circuit breaker, Celtic suddenly clicked. The new bhoys from Japan, specifically Maeda and Hatate, gave this side so much more energy.

Soccer Football – Scottish Premiership – Celtic v Rangers – Celtic Park, Glasgow, Scotland, Britain – February 2, 2022 General view as Celtic players line up before the match Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

When it got to the 2nd of February, a month after the Glasgow Derby was supposed to take place, Celtic fans were optimistic. But not even they could have guessed what was coming next.

The fixture always has an edge, but at night, under the Celtic Park lights and with pyro bellowing into the night air, there was something special afoot. There were no away fans in the ground due to Rangers withholding tickets for the first game of the season at Ibrox.

It was Celtic fans and Celtic fans only in every nook and cranny of the stadium, and bhoy could you feel it.

Soccer Football – Scottish Premiership – Celtic v Rangers – Celtic Park, Glasgow, Scotland, Britain – February 2, 2022 Fans with flares inside the stadium before the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Soccer Football – Scottish Premiership – Celtic v Rangers – Celtic Park, Glasgow, Scotland, Britain – February 2, 2022 Celtic fans celebrate after Liel Abada scores their third goal REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

It would take just five minutes for Reo Hatate to make himself known in this fixture, scoring from the edge of the box and sending the place into chaos! Celtic were breathtaking as Gio’s men looked like they wanted the earth to open up and swallow them.

The Hoops were relentless in the first half, and the fans never stopped to take a breath, belting out chants and songs into the night air, booing when the opposition got the ball and ferociously willing this new look Celtic side forward.

On the 42nd minute, the gates would open again for Reo, who again showed his class. Taking a shot from a standing start, facing away from the goal and managing to curl it into the bottom corner past an irate Allan McGregor. It was 2-0, and the place was shaking.

The whole of Celtic Park was still on its feet celebrating the second when Reo turned provided for Liel Abada who ghosted into the box and netted a quick third. Now, at this point, I believe I witnessed some of the wildest scenes from the terraces of Celtic Park.

Soccer Football – Scottish Premiership – Celtic v Rangers – Celtic Park, Glasgow, Scotland, Britain – February 2, 2022 Celtic’s Reo Hatate with manager Ange Postecoglou after being substituted REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Soccer Football – Scottish Premiership – Celtic v Rangers – Celtic Park, Glasgow, Scotland, Britain – February 2, 2022 Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst gives the ball to Celtic’s Greg Taylor REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

This wasn’t just any other derby game. This was 12 months of frustration watching heartless and passionless football while forced to stay indoors. This was Celtic emerging from their difficult start to the campaign under a new manager who was laughed into the building. This was Celtic taking back control and making it clear they were ready to take back their title.

Just watch those highlights.

Celtic went top of the league that night and never budged thereafter. It was a night when Angeball came to life, and it was the beginning of the slow burn towards an inevitable Gio exit. Celtic have gone from strength to strength since that derby while our rivals have struggled to keep pace.

Whatever happens next, we know we have the right man in charge.

ange postecoglou
Soccer Football – Scottish Premiership – Celtic v Rangers – Celtic Park, Glasgow, Scotland, Britain – February 2, 2022 Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou celebrates after the match Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

2 COMMENTS

  1. Rangers?

    Rangers FC according to Companies House, (a subsidiary of the UK government) states that the entity you mention is currently being liquidated.

  2. Thats the standard this Celtic team need to rediscover! We know they have it in them, here’s the proof, the ability to play inventive direct composed clinical football.

    A lot of players heads went down during the CL campaign, self doubt crept in, but when they believe in themselves & each other they’re a fantastic team

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