Matt McKay in Celtic confession as ‘gutted’ Rangers man admits he knew Ange Postecoglou turnaround was coming

Matt McKay’s heart will always be in the blue half of Glasgow.

But even from the other side of the world, he can’t help being green with envy at what Ange Postecoglou is doing at Celtic.

And if the Aussie coach gets his hands on the Premiership title this season, McKay reckons clubs from England and Europe will try to snatch him away from Parkhead. The former Rangers midfielder knew his old boss would do well at Celtic.

Just not this well. And not in this ridiculously short amount of time.

But Postecoglou’s rejuvenation of the Hoops is reminiscent of what he did with Brisbane Roar and Australia when McKay was his player.

That’s why the success he’s had so far doesn’t surprise him.

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After spending a year at Ibrox in 2011, McKay’s allegiances are very much with Rangers.

But he fears Postecoglou is working his magic again.

And he’s convinced that if Celtic are in the Champions League next season, they could be powerless in trying to hold on to their gaffer.

McKay said: “As a Rangers man, I was gutted when Celtic got him. I wanted him to do well but not this well. He’s been incredible for them.

“The Celtic players could go on to bigger and better things because of Ange.

“I’m jealous Celtic have him because he’s helping their players and they’ve become a better side. I thought he’d need more time. He’s figured it out pretty quickly and so have the players. They had that rough patch at the start but it came together soon.

“They’ve already got one piece of silverware and I’m not surprised at all.

“If they go on to win the league this season, it would be so impressive.

“It would be massive for Ange personally.

“It will be up there with winning trophies in Australia or the Asia Cup with the national team.

“Everywhere Ange has gone, he’s won.

“So he’ll keep aiming high. If he wins the title, he’ll look at the trophy then move on to the next one, wherever that might be.

“It would mean a great deal to him to win it in his first season in Europe at a big club.

“And if he does I think Celtic will struggle to keep him. I can see Premier League clubs looking at him.

“The carrot this season is Champions League football. Ange will want that so badly.

“Winning the Premiership would be great. But playing in the Champions League? That will be his dream of him.”

Even people Down Under knew how big a job Postecoglou had on his hands at Parkhead when he arrived last summer.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou celebrates with the trophy after winning the Premier Sports Cup Final at Hampden Park, Glasgow. Picture date: Sunday December 19, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Final. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.

But McKay has seen him work wonders before by winning the A-League for Brisbane in 2011 then the Asian Cup with Australia four years later.

As a coach, he says Postecoglou’s tactical nous is up there with the best.

But he’s adamant it’s character and personality that makes him stand out.

McKay said: “I did a similar job at Brisbane. He sat us all down and asked what we’d won. I said nothing.

“Ange said he’d change that. He had an idea and wanted to move people along in their careers. And he did it.

“I have achieved it the following season with a team of nobodies. He brought in players who really wanted success and he changed their careers.

“I have arrived with an idea and executed it. It looks like he’s doing the same at Celtic.

“Players really want to play for him. Even senior players, who maybe don’t want change, they commit and it inevitably helps them.

“With the national team, I have just instilled belief.

“He never wavered from how he wanted us to play, no matter who we were up against. He’s lived by that the whole time.

Postecoglou as Australia boss

“Because he was an Australian, he understood what it meant.

“He sat us down at the start and made everyone tell their story of what it means to be a Socceroo.

“That was pretty emotional. Everyone’s story was different, with some more emotional than others.

“He’s such a good man-manager and tactically he’s brilliant. He figures out ways of how you can break the opposition down.

“For Ange, it’s not about what the other team does.

“Some managers spend a lot of time on the opposition.

“But he spends 90 per cent of the time on what you need to do to win the game.”

McKay can sense from watching Postecoglou on TV that he’s immersed himself in Celtic. And he doesn’t expect his old boss to be the players’ pal or out enjoying Glasgow’s attractions.

He said: “I’ve watched his interviews and he has really bought into the club. He has learned the history of Celtic.

“He won’t have sat back, he’ll have spoken to the right people there.

“Among the players he’ll be popular because of the work he does and they’ll respect him. He’ll have a joke with them at times – but he’s just so focused.

“You won’t see him out socializing in Glasgow much. Any time away from football will be spent with his family from him.

“He’s a good man and Celtic suit him perfectly.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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