Ex-Celtic striker insists Ange Postecoglou deserves Manager of the Year award - even if Rangers win the Premiership title

The Australian has transformed the club’s fortunes and is closing in on a domestic Treble in his first season at the helm
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou had his say on 'referee watch'. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou had his say on 'referee watch'. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou had his say on 'referee watch'. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

Chris Sutton is adamant Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou deserves to be named ‘Manager of the Year’ even if his side miss out on the Premiership title.

The Greek-born Australian took over the Parkhead club in the summer after their disastrous ten-in-a-row hopes were obliterated by Rangers last season.

Postecoglou immediately set about making drastic changes, including an extensive overhaul of the playing squad.

Celtic's Anthony Ralston (L) and manager Ange Postecoglou have worked on the defender's progress and development this season. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)Celtic's Anthony Ralston (L) and manager Ange Postecoglou have worked on the defender's progress and development this season. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Celtic's Anthony Ralston (L) and manager Ange Postecoglou have worked on the defender's progress and development this season. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Within six months he lifted the Premier Sports Cup at Hampden and has guided his new-look team to the Premiership summit ahead of a massive derby showdown with their title rivals at Ibrox this weekend.

A domestic Treble is still a realistic possibility for Postecoglou in his first season at Parkhead, with Celtic also due to face Rangers in the Scottish Cup semi-finals next month.

It has been a remarkable transformation given the Hoops rocky early season form, which saw them lose three out of their first six games and knocked out of the Champions League qualifiers against FC Midtjylland.

It is for that reason Sutton has claimed the former Yokohama F. Marinos boss deserved to be scoop the accolade, regardless of how the campaign ends.

Speaking on BBC 5 Live Sport, he said: “When you think of the mess which he took over, Ange Postecoglou, and to where Celtic are now. They are ahead.

“Listen, Rangers are a good team. I really rate the job (Giovanni) van Bronckhorst has done at Ibrox. They are absolutely flying in European competition.

“It’s great to see both teams going head to head, but Postecoglou, to think that the team he played in the Champions League qualifier. It was a team of kids.

Midtjylland defeated Celtic 2-1 in their second-leg encounter after a 1-1 draw at Celtic Park. Picture: SNSMidtjylland defeated Celtic 2-1 in their second-leg encounter after a 1-1 draw at Celtic Park. Picture: SNS
Midtjylland defeated Celtic 2-1 in their second-leg encounter after a 1-1 draw at Celtic Park. Picture: SNS

“They lost three out of the first six games. To be in the position where they are clear at this stage. His recruitment has been excellent. Really, really excellent.

“Regardless of who wins the league whether it is Celtic or Rangers it has to be Postecoglou for Manager of the Year.”

Meanwhile, Celtic utility man Reo Hatate will earn his first senior cap for Japan during their World Cup qualifiers against Vietnam this afternoon.

The defender/midfielder has been named in Hajime Moriyasu starting XI just six days after being left out of the match against Australia.

Reo Hatate has joined Celtic from Kawaski Frontale.Reo Hatate has joined Celtic from Kawaski Frontale.
Reo Hatate has joined Celtic from Kawaski Frontale.

The Samurai Blue book their place at the FIFA World Cup later this year with a game to spare last week as they beat a Covid-hit Socceroos side 2-0 on home soil for the first time since 1998.

Hatate will now aim to impress his National Team head coach in a bid to rubber-stamp his seat on the plane to Qatar in November.