Ange Postecoglou reveals the moment he knew Celtic were on track to dethrone Rangers as Australian boss basks in his outstanding first year at Parkhead – and explains why he ‘loved’ Tom Rogic’s ‘perfect ending’
It was February 2 when Ange Postecoglou first allowed himself to believe.
The Australian had been deliberately coy about Celtic’s chances of winning the title throughout the first six months of the season, but sensed a seismic change of direction after his team thrashed Rangers at Parkhead.
Celtic dismantled the then-reigning champions 3-0 to end a seven-game winless run in the Old Firm and, crucially, overtook Rangers at the top of the table.
Ange Postecoglou said he knew Celtic were on track to dethrone Rangers after they thrashed their rivals 3-0 at Parkhead on February 2 (above)
The Hoops never relinquished the lead, finishing four points ahead of their arch-rival to lift a 10th Scottish Premiership title in 11 seasons.
‘That created a massive shift for us in terms of going forward,’ Postecoglou told Sky Sports of Celtic’s dominant win over Rangers.
‘”I think if we’d got beat that night and Rangers had outplayed us you’re going: The gap is four points, we’ve got to play them twice and we’ve still got to convince people that we’re capable of knocking them off”.’
As it happened, Celtic raced into a three-goal lead before halftime and Rangers never laid a glove on them.
Reo Hatate scored twice as the Hoops took a 3-0 lead at halftime against the champions
Celtic went top of the table after beating Rangers in February and never looked back
After their dominant win in February, the Hoops won 2-1 at Ibrox in April and drew 1-1 at home in their final meeting of the season.
‘The manner of how everything happened that night, I just thought: “Well okay, now my job is to make sure we stay on course”,’ Postecoglou added.
‘I think the players and the staff got a real sense of belief out of that game.’
Celtic finished 25 points behind Rangers in 2021 and lost three of Postecoglou’s first six game in charge, before embarking on a 31-game unbeaten league run to reclaim the title at the first time of asking.
Postecoglou led Celtic to the title in his first season at Parkhead and their 10th in 11 years
Less than two months before they hammered Rangers, Celtic lifted their first silverware of the season after beating Hibernian 2-1 in the Scottish League Cup final, a result Postecoglou believes fueled self-belief within his players.
‘When you get your hands on the trophy, you know why you’ve got it,’ the 56-year-old said.
‘You’ve believed in something, you’ve executed something. That again fuels that self-fulfilling belief in the group and in ourselves that if we keep doing this who knows what the next trophy is going to be.’
Celtic’s title triumph proved the perfect sendoff for fellow Australian Tom Rogic, who left the Bhoys at the end of the season after 10 years at Parkhead.
The Celtic boss paid tribute to fellow Australian Tom Rogic who left the club after a decade
Rogic (middle) joined from Central Coast Mariners in January 2013 as a 20-year-old
He won six Premierships, five Scottish Cups and five League Cups during his spell in Scotland
The 29-year-old signed from Central Coast Mariners in January 2013 and won six Scottish Premiership medals, five Scottish cups and five League Cups in a trophy-laden decade.
Israeli teammate Nir Bitton also departed at the end of the campaign after claiming eight league medals, four Scottish Cups and six League Cups after joining in the summer of 2013 from FC Ashdod.
‘I love the ending we’ve given Tom Rogic and Nir Bitton,’ Postecoglou said. Especially Tom as there’s an association. Watching him walking off and saying goodbye, the emotion.
‘I think that’s a moment that will stand the test of time. […] You couldn’t have scripted it that way but it ended up falling in our lap that it could be the perfect ending.’