We’re now three days on from Sunday’s League Cup success at Hampden and the feel good factor amongst the Celtic support remains just as strong as when we heard Sunday’s final whistle.
We’ve won the League Cup before – twenty times as it happens – but this one definitely feels different.
Maybe it’s because of the incessant noise we heard from the other side of the city in the build up to the game.
Maybe it’s because this could be the first trophy on the way to yet another treble.
Or maybe it’s because under Ange Postecoglou we can feel something very special happening at Celtic.
SILVERWARE AND SUCCESS
Celtic and success go hand in hand and the latest League Cup triumph goes down as the club’s 114th major honour.
Those 21 League Cup trophies can now be added to 52 Scottish League titles, 40 Scottish Cups, and of course the European Cup won in 1967.
Whether you’ve been watching Celtic for decades, or if following the club is something you’re relatively new to, the constant is that we’ve all enjoyed a notable level of success when following the Bhoys in green and white.
Even if – like me – you had to endure the 90’s before the better times that followed!
Across the modern era we’ve witnessed historical trebles, 9-in-a-row dominance and numerous cup successes at Hampden.
Fans of an older generation may well remember the original 9-in-a-row (1965 – 1974), not to mention a certain afternoon in Lisbon as Celtic reached the very top of the European game.
Success is something we’ve all been fortunate to enjoy as Celtic fans.
The recency bias effect will always play a part in sport however, but even with that there’s a very different feeling amongst Celtic supporters just now – and it’s all because of one man.
FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF LEGENDARY MANAGERS
Celtic have been led by some truly iconic figures over the years and we’ll all have our favourites from Jock Stein, Billy McNeill, Martin O’Neill, Neil Lennon and others.
But when an ‘unknown Australian’ made his way to the East End of Glasgow to pick up the pieces of the failed 2020/21 season could we possibly have envisaged what’s now playing out before us?
Reclaiming the league title itself at the first time of asking was huge and after a start to last season’s campaign which included three defeats in our opening six games even the most optimistic amongst us must have thought that would have been a step too far.
It should be noted that the League Cup win in December 2021 over Hibs was the catalyst for further success in Ange’s debut season and is something he himself acknowledges.
The win gave validation to his methods and though by that stage his players had clearly already ‘bought in’ there may have been some amongst the support and elsewhere who still weren’t quite sure.
With three trophies now in the bag and a 9-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership table I think most have now been convinced.
So comprehensive has the turnaround been under Ange, only 5 players from Celtic’s 2020/21 squad now remain a notable part of the squad – Callum McGregor, Greg Taylor, Anthony Ralston, David Turnbull & James Forrest.
The rest – either on permanent deals or on loan – are no longer part of Ange’s plan.
As popular Greek striker Giorgos Giakoumakis also learned very recently, with Ange Postecoglou you’re either all in or all out.
TRUST IN THE MANAGER
The manager warned us some time ago that as a support we’d need to get used to the idea of saying farewell to some of our favourite players.
Giakoumakis and Josip Juranovic certainly fell into the category for some, but what’s remarkable is just how little we’ve felt the absence of two players who played such a key part in last season’s success.
It’s been said by many but I’ll repeat here that this Celtic squad are amongst the most likeable group of players of many of our Celtic supporting lives.
Though Ange has told us not to get attached, the thought of losing the likes of Kyogo, Jota, Reo Hatate and others isn’t something any of us will be willing to entertain, at least for now.
Whilst there will be a day when they too will leave Celtic Park the sound advice is to enjoy them and their talents while we can.
We trust the manager to replace them accordingly when the time is right.
Standing still is the equivalent of going backwards for Ange Postecoglou and this aggressive transfer strategy is a part of his masterplan to make us a genuine force in Europe once again.
LEAVING A LEGACY
Players will come and go but Ange himself has hinted in recent days that he may be around for some time to come.
At 57 years of age and making the kind of headlines that he has done at Celtic it’s little wonder that he’s been linked with a move away in recent times.
But leaving a legacy is hugely important to him
“For me, what it’s about is just trying to leave a mark wherever I am.
I’ve done that with every football club I’ve been at and I want to do that at this football club. That’s all that consumes me.
I’m really passionate about what I do, and the people closes to me know what’s most important to me, what drives me, and what keeps me happy in my role.
I couldn’t be happier.”
As he’s now told us on numerous occasions, he and his ambitions for Celtic ‘never stop’.
And though there’s an excitement building about what his Celtic side continue to do domestically, this is a man who’s ambitions don’t stop there.
There may well be a treble in the pipeline this season, but Ange Postecoglou is already looking beyond that as his incredible evolution of Celtic continues.
Listen to the latest episode of The Celtic Exchange Weekly now as we cover Celtic’s latest success, the leadership throughout the squad, and the rise and rise of Alistair Johnstone.
Available wherever you get your podcasts or here at The Celtic Exchange website.