The Celtic parallels between Ange Postecoglou and Wim Jansen as ‘strong characters’ leave club hero in awe

Different personalities. But the same single-minded focus on their work.

And crucially, an ability to make players believe in them.

The similarities between the late Wim Jansen and current Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou are unavoidable.

Some supporters reckon this season’s Premiership title triumph is the most impressive since 1998.

That year, like Postecoglou, Jansen was a new gaffer arriving from Japanese football.

He was forced into a squad revamp against league favorites Rangers who were champions.

And despite a sticky start to the campaign, the likeable Dutchman guided his team to a historic victory.

It sounds like a case of deja vu when you consider the job Postecoglou has done this term.

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Alan Stubbs was part of Jansen’s side who stopped Gers winning 10-in-a-row 24 years ago.

And he can’t help making comparisons between the Aussie, who arrived as an unknown from Yokohama Marinos last summer, and Jansen who sadly died in January.

stubbs awning MailSport : “Wim and Ange are both characters – but in a different way.

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“You can see that Ange is a strong individual. He speaks very well, has a calming influence and an edge when he needs it in terms of his responses from him.

“He’s fitted into the role of Celtic manager so well when – let’s be honest – at the beginning everyone was asking, ‘Who is this guy’?

“Where Wim and Ange are the same is their single-mindedness in how they want their teams to play and how they’re going to do the job.

“Wim was my first foreign coach and it was the same for a lot of the players at Celtic back then. It was all new.

“But a lot of the lads really responded to his style, his work and personality. He was a breath of fresh air.

Wim Jansen holding Celtic scarf above his head July 1997

“And it feels like it’s the same with Ange. It’s OK bringing in a style and a DNA. But you need people to buy
into it.

“You have to get that across to the players and get them to change everything in their approach to the game.

“That takes time and that’s why it’s so impressive.

“The players deserve a lot of credit here as well for adapting to that aggressive style of play he demands.”

Postecoglou walked into chaos at Celtic Park last summer. After the departure of boss Neil Lennon and their 10-in-a-row capitulation, big players were heading for the exit.

The Aussie didn’t have long to build a side capable of challenging Rangers and, after losing three of their first six league games, the writing appeared to be on the wall.

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But at Parkhead yesterday, skipper Callum McGregor held aloft the Premiership trophy after an incredible 31-game unbeaten run in the league.

Recruitment has been key for Postecoglou – just as it was for Jansen in ’98.

Stubbs said: “I can understand some Celtic fans saying it’s the most impressive title win since Wim’s – I can relate to that.

“When you look at Rangers back then, we went into that season as firm underdogs to win the league.

“It was the same this time with Ange, so the similarities are there for
everyone to see.

“It’s been such an impressive bounce-back from the disappointment of not achieving the 10.

“This was Celtic’s biggest rebuild in 15 years.

“Wim had to do that as well, we brought a lot of players in during that summer of ’98.

“But if I’m being honest, the impact made by ALL of Ange’s signings has probably been greater.

“It’s hard to pick out one signing who hasn’t worked out. Almost every one of them has played a major role in this title win.

“Rangers are not as formidable now as they were in ’98, with the players they had at that time.

“But the most impressive thing from Celtic’s point of view is that they’ve been able to win in transition.

“That’s the biggest thing – because Celtic aren’t the finished article yet.

“Steven Gerrard had three years to stop 10-in-a-row. He had a build-up to it. Ange hasn’t had that.

“He came into turmoil at the start – on and off the pitch, when you think of recruitment and a new chief executive, who then left.

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“But he’s dealt with all of that and came through it with flying colors.”

Even in the midst of the title party at Tannadice on Wednesday night, Postecoglou never got animated.

His emotions were clear but at no point this season – even after a turbulent start – did he get carried away with good or bad results.

And Stubbs says club icon Jansen also had that trait.

He said: “Ange had a tricky start and it was the same with us in ’98. But Wim stayed calm, he never got rattled.

“That’s why the players really liked him and it seems like Ange is very similar.

“Looking at both of them, they didn’t get too up or too down at any point.

“That’s probably key to their success.”

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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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