Brisbane Roar great Jack Hingert says playing under Ange Postecoglou is an all-or-nothing affair.
“It was clear from the start what you had to do. To be honest it was difficult,” he said, describing what it was like to join Postecoglou’s exciting Brisbane Roar side as it progresses to three A-League matches. championships raged.
“But he was very good at making you believe in the way of playing.
“The way he could motivate you, he was just there. You wanted to be part of the whole culture.”
Postecoglou has captured that legendary culture in no time in its latest pressure cooker roll.
The Australian manager is Scotland’s toast after leading Celtic to the Scottish title in his first season as manager.
After taking the premiership on Thursday morning away to Dundee United, his Celtic side had a celebratory homecoming overnight, beating Motherwell 6-0 in front of the club’s fans.
“We are champions,” said an emotional Postecoglou to frenzied Celtic fans after the game.
Last season, the club finished a whopping 25 points behind their big rivals, Rangers.
“I want to thank all those involved from the board and the best staff in the country – incredible effort,” he said
“I have a group of players that have been incredible – champions of Scotland and well deserved. And to you, the best [fans] on the planet – unbelievable.
“You have embraced me, my family, this sweater. And I want everyone to enjoy today, enjoy the summer and we come back bigger and better – because we never stop.”
Postecoglou is so popular in Scotland that he says he can’t keep up with the amount of whiskey sent to his house, given he’s a drop.
A ‘powerful’ presence
Another Roar hero from their Postecoglou days said the coach created a similar sense of purpose in Brisbane, almost single-handedly changing the club’s entire trajectory.
“He came to the Roar with a very strong approach, mentality and vision, where he thought Brisbane Roar could create a legacy,” said Matt Smith, a defensive linchpin for the side.
“The way he talked about creating something special definitely caught my attention.
“He sold his vision and his legacy to the players and everyone around the club, and we bought it.
Smith said the training was often more difficult than the actual games.
“It was very, very intense from day to day,” Smith said.
“You could feel his passion and desire every day. His style of football was non-negotiable. It was a very high risk, but very rewarding.
“The environment he created was very powerful.”
Everyone should buy in for an exciting play style
Postecoglou was a leftfield signing for Celtic and his start at the club was rocky.
He joined when the famed club was on the back burner, taking just two wins and an eight-game draw to finish sixth on the ladder.
But Hingert said the key with Postecoglou was to keep the faith and deliver the coach.
Just like he did for Celtic.
“He has long believed that he would play in that style,” Hingert said.
“Many people may change, but he stuck to his guns regardless of the early results.
“He’s always stuck to what he believed in and that made you want to believe in it.
“He made you think this is the only way to play.”
‘Australian football reformed’
Smith said it was something special to be a part of.
“He was very determined to make sure players adhered to their roles.”
Smith sees many similarities between the current Celtic side and the “Roarcelona” team Ange created.
“How he transforms clubs is probably the biggest measure of the man,” he said.
“He reformed Brisbane Roar, he reformed the landscape of Australian football.
“It was remarkable given the situation of the Roar at the time.
“And it’s similar to Celtic, to completely reposition how the team handles things.”
What’s next for Ange?
Both Smith and Hingert said they had no doubts that Postecoglou would be a success at Celtic as long as he was given the time to mold the side to his image.
“To be honest, everywhere he’s been, he’s won,” Hingert said.
And whether it remains successful at Celtic?
“I would love to see him in the Premier League. I think he can move on to bigger and better things,” Hingert said.
Smith believes big clubs will already be eyeing the Australian coach, and a Champions League campaign next season will show him even more to the rest of Europe.
“I would be surprised if Celtic manage to hold onto him,” he said.
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