Having bemoaned that his “passion” for football was never matched in Australia, Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has found his spiritual home in Glasgow.
As the Hoops prepared for their Scottish League Cup final date with arch-rivals Rangers at Hampden Park on Monday morning (AEDT), former Socceroos boss Postecoglou suggested he had found his perfect job such was Celtic fans’ love for football.
“Coming here, for me, it just felt right,” Postecoglou told Cup sponsors Viaplay.
“Whilst my passion for this football club can’t match the passion and investment of our supporters, I have been very invested in this sport.
“It’s been my one obsession my whole life, football – I have loved it.
“It’s given me everything good that’s in my life, from relationships to the life I have led, everything has been borne from the fact that I have had this obsession with and passion for the game.
“I understand what it is to love something that much, and I know that’s how our supporters feel about this football club, so it was easy for me to relate to.
“In many senses I was craving that because a lot of my early journey, particularly in Australia, it was the one thing that was missing.
“I had a lot of success but I wasn’t sharing that with like-minded folk. There wasn’t the same level of passion for the game that I had.”
Postecoglou has been a massive hit with Celtic supporters, having guided the Hoops to Scottish Premiership and League Cup glory in his first season in charge.
He is well on the way to leading Celtic to successive Scottish titles, while victory on Monday morning will secure back-to-back League Cups.
Rangers boss Michael Beale said he had a “lot of respect” for Postecoglou, and denied there was a rift between the pair.
“I think the job he has done since he has come in to the country has been fantastic,” Beale said of the former Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory coach.
“He has helped recruit players from a part of the world and brought players in who have really shone a light on our game.
“We can laugh about (rumours of a rift) because we know there is nothing there.”
However, it’s sure to be a tense atmosphere on the pitch, particularly after Rangers striker Fashion Salaka said that his side was “so much better” than Celtic.
Despite Sakala’s comments, star Hoops defender Cameron Carter-Vickers said his team “didn’t need any extra motivation” for the final.
“To be honest it’s something, I’d expect him to say,” Carter-Vickers said.
“We want to be at our best and to win the game.”
Scottish League Cup final
Rangers v Celtic
Monday, 1.55am (AEDT)
TV: beIN Sports 2