Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic revolution is in full swing with the Hoops winning a fifth-consecutive match after downing AZ Alkmaar 2-0 in the first leg of their Europa League playoff tie.
The Australian has wasted no time in stamping his distinctive brand on Celtic, who are playing in his sharp, attacking style, led by his star J-League signing Kyogo Furuhashi, and revitalised countryman Tom Rogic.
Kyogo put the Scottish side in front after 12 minutes at Celtic Park after applying the finishing touch to some enterprising play from Rogic.
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James Forrest doubled the advantage through a fortunate deflection in the 61st minute, while AZ Alkmaar somehow couldn’t find the back of the net in the second half, despite laying siege to Joe Hart’s goal.
Postecoglou’s fast-paced style is proving to be a breath of fresh air in Glasgow, even if that breath isn’t being taken until after the full time whistle.
“This is a Celtic team that will have your heart racing at one end and give you heart palpitations at the other,” Graeme McGarry wrote for The Herald.
“Take a fair dollop of defending by the seat of your pants, a pinch of passing out from even the stickiest spots, sprinkle a dash of magic from the Wizard of Oz Tom Rogic and top it all off with the swashbuckling brilliance of Kyogo Furuhashi, and Postecoglou has come up with an intoxicating mix that has the Celtic support begging for more.
“Even if it can also leave them feeling a little bit queasy at times.”
McGarry said the win against AZ Alkmaar “bordered on the bonkers at times”, but Postecoglou is still standing after saying he’d rather go down swinging.
Meanwhile, independent Celtic fan site 67 Hail Hail wrote that their team‘s movement “was utterly terrifying in its pace”.
The victory came after a big 7-2 win on aggregate against Jablonec in the Europa League’s third qualifying round, 6-0 over Dundee and 3-2 over Hearts in the Cup.
Earlier, former Liverpool star and Celtic manager John Barnes said he felt Postecoglou was the right man for the job as he gives a fresh perspective — and isn’t obsessed with the bitter Rangers rivalry.
“The appointment is an interesting one and I do think it may be the best choice for Celtic,” he told The Scottish Sun.
“He seems to be a manager who just wants to get on with the job and let the results speak for themselves, which is exactly what Celtic need just now.
“I believe Ange will do a great job with Celtic. I think the players will respect him.
“It’s still very early in the season and you have to give Ange some time. The club, the players and the fans have to get behind him.”
Scots columnist Sean McDonald wrote for The Celtic Way that he initially felt “underwhelmed” by Postecoglou’s signing, but it has been an “incredible stroke of luck”.
“Months of expecting Eddie Howe to be paraded at Celtic Park, only for that bubble to be burst, led to me fearing the worst. Now, I’m thanking our lucky stars that we have the Australian in charge,” he wrote.
“The standard of our play in recent fixtures, both domestically and in Europe, has been a joy to watch. Free-flowing, unpredictable and exciting football, with goals aplenty.”