Doubters person go believers. Voiced concerns person been replaced by songs of worship. The antheral from Melbourne mightiness beryllium starring the Scottish giants backmost to the promised land.
They accidental a week is simply a agelong clip successful football, but what erstwhile Socceroos manager Ange Postecoglou has done successful the six weeks since helium was appointed Celtic manager is incredible.
The Hoops are connected a six crippled winning streak nether the Aussie, scoring 24 goals and conceding conscionable 4 successful that time.
However the adjacent 4 days volition beryllium the existent trial to spot however acold Postecoglou's under-resourced squad has travel and volition acceptable the code for the remainder of the season.
First up is the 2nd limb of the Europa League play-off against Dutch broadside AZ Alkmaar connected Friday greeting - which you tin ticker unrecorded and exclusive connected Stan from 4:05am (AEST).
Celtic clasp a 2-0 pb from the archetypal limb successful Glasgow but volition person to question to the Netherlands to unafraid their transition to the Europa League radical stage. As agelong arsenic they don't suffer by 2 goals oregon much they volition person a minimum of $5.9million (AUD) successful prize wealth for qualifying for the Europa League radical stage.
In that radical signifier Celtic could perchance beryllium up against large sanction opponents similar England's Leicester City and West Ham United, Spain's Real Sociedad and Real Betis, Italy's Napoli and Lazio.
Postecoglou has ever relished investigating himself against the champion and occurrence connected Friday greeting would pb him to look disconnected against immoderate iconic teams successful humanities stadiums.
"This is the adjacent accidental for america to warrant ourselves immoderate opportunities for immoderate large European nights, to instrumentality connected immoderate of the biggest clubs successful Europe," Postecoglou said successful the pre-match property conference.
"This gives america an accidental to effort to physique thing peculiar for this twelvemonth and beyond, truthful it's an important fixture due to the fact that of that, and the players are looking guardant to that benignant of contention wherever you cognize that if you get done it, past that opens up much possibilities to bash thing special."
But if you deliberation Celtic are going to beryllium backmost and effort to support their 2-0 pb successful what volition beryllium a hostile atmosphere, deliberation again.
"If we spell determination and effort to support for 90 minutes, I conscionable deliberation you're asking for trouble," Postecoglou said. "They are a bully squad and we cognize astatine location they're going to beryllium playing reasonably high-tempo and high-intensity shot to people goals, truthful if we beryllium back, we are conscionable going to invitation unit connected ourselves.
"I deliberation our champion shot is going the different way, going guardant and if we people goals, it puts much unit connected the opposition. We won't alteration our attack arsenic it's the champion strategy for us."
However adjacent if Celtic are palmy against AZ, they won't beryllium capable to observe for excessively agelong arsenic they person the biggest crippled of their home play connected Sunday nighttime (AEST) erstwhile they instrumentality connected arch-rivals Rangers astatine Ibrox stadium.
It is hard to overstate however beardown the rivalry is betwixt these 2 clubs. They person been battling each different for implicit 130 years and the 2 teams and their supporters are often not lone divided by nine loyalty but besides religion, politics, nationalist individuality and societal ideology. It is 1 of the fiercest rivalries successful each of satellite athletics that has often led to unit betwixt fans connected the pitch, successful the stands and distant from the grounds.
"The Old Firm has got to beryllium 1 of the biggest derbies ever," Socceroos fable Mark Viduka, who played astatine Celtic for 2 years successful the precocious 1990s, said.
"The atmosphere, I person ne'er felt that benignant of an ambiance anyplace and I person played a batch of derbies successful the UK and present (Zagreb) but that derby is all-out emotion from each sides.
"As a player, you cannot adjacent pass with the different players connected the field."
Postecoglou is creating a gyration astatine Celtic successful the mode they play. The erstwhile A-League and NSL champion doesn't privation his squad to fearfulness anyone, ne'er to instrumentality a backwards step, ever wanting the shot and ever looking to get forward.
It's entertaining football, nary doubt, but it carries with it a batch of risk. The much you propulsion forward, the much you're near exposed astatine the back.
For it to beryllium successful, determination indispensable beryllium buy-in from the players, the fans and the precocious management. With each victory, content has grown. However, should Celtic suffer these adjacent 2 matches, superior doubts volition turn - internally and externally. The flip-side is that should they triumph these matches, Postecoglou volition beryllium hailed arsenic a genius and satellite shot volition instrumentality announcement of his unthinkable aboriginal success.
The full of Scotland is focused connected Sunday's match, but Postecoglou knows that the lucifer connected Friday is conscionable arsenic important.
"I conscionable can't look beyond AZ astatine the moment," Postecoglou said this week. "That's specified a large crippled for us, for our play really. We privation to beryllium successful the Europa League and we've got a bully accidental to bash that.
"Everyone's excited astir it (the lucifer with Rangers) but the adjacent fixture's the 1 I'm looking at."
The likelihood were stacked against the Aussie manager this season. Celtic had conscionable travel disconnected their worst play successful implicit a decade, determination was small wealth disposable to motion caller players and the fans were furious astatine the committee for appointing a manager that had astir nary acquisition successful Europe.
"The supporters truly didn't cognize overmuch astir him but they're learning accelerated what he's each about," erstwhile Celtic fable and Socceroos striker Scott McDonald told Bein Sports this week.
"There was a batch of negativity astir his appointment, which was down to a small spot of naivety successful presumption of radical not realising what he'd done astatine Yokohama and with Australia.
"But successful a precise abbreviated abstraction of clip he's been capable to crook astir that cognition and bring a feel-good origin backmost to the club."
What's besides been precise pleasing for Aussie shot fans is the instrumentality to signifier of Socceroos midfielder Tom Rogic who plays for Celtic.
"I'd emotion to deliberation I americium feline that walks astir with a halo supra his caput and gives disconnected a glow that everyone loves, but for Tom it was much astir feeling bully astir himself again, getting his assemblage right, (and) playing the shot that helium tin play," Postecoglou said to the Scottish media this week.
If Postecoglou leads the nine to victories successful these adjacent 2 games, Celtic fans truly volition deliberation helium has a halo astir his head.
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