League Cup Final 2021/22: First Fruit of the Postecoglou Revolution

When John Beaton blew the final whistle at the end of the last season’s League Cup Final, he did not just signal the end of the game. More importantly for Celtic fans, this moment also brought to a close a dark 18 months in the club’s history.  A period that saw Celtic go from chasing 10-in-a-row to becoming a laughing stock, handing a competitive debut to an untried 16-year-old in Champions League qualifying simply because they had no other option.

Appointed to unprecedented levels of mockery in the media – some so-called journalists could not even be bothered to learn how to pronounce his name correctly – Ange Postecoglou had one helluva task on his hands when he entered Paradise on 21st June 2021.

The club had finished 25 points behind Rangers the season before and seen their historic 10-in-a-row ambitions collapse with little more than whimper.

16 players including club captain Scott Brown, Odsonne Edouard, and Kristoffer Ajer departed during the summer as Celtic entered a brave new world with the Australian at the helm and a major rebuild required.

A relatively unknown quantity to most Celtic fans, Dan Orlowitz of the Japan Times gave Ange a glowing reference on the ACSoM pod shortly after his appointment.

By the end of the summer transfer window Ange had bolstered his first team squad with 10 additions.  Joe Hart and James McCarthy brought experience to the squad; Cameron Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt were signed to become the clubs central defensive pairing; and the raw talents of Liel Abada, Jota, and Kyogo brought flair in abundance to the attack.


The season got off to a slow start with Celtic losing their first three away games in the league, including one at Ibrox.  Ange had told us to trust in the process at his very first press conference and that the way he gets his sides to play the game has brought him success wherever he had been.

While there were some doubts creeping into the Celtic support in the early days, Ange did indeed stick to the process and the turning point came with a hard fought away win at Pittodrie. The first away win of the season.

Celtic’s football had been scintillating at times up to that point but there had been a perceived defensive weakness as the side got used to a new way of playing; introducing inverted fullbacks, Callum McGregor as the #6, and a fluid front three capable of interchanging at will.

Having lost 9 points from 9 in the first three away games of the season, Celtic would drop just 6 more away from home in the rest of the campaign.  In fact, Celtic would not lose another league game all season, such was the momentum that October’s victory at Pittodrie generated.


By the time the League Cup final came around in December Celtic were on a 12-game unbeaten run domestically.

The football was, as Ange had promised, exciting and aggressive.  The progress made from the opening games was clear for all to see.  Yet, it would all count for nothing if Hibs were to emerge victorious from Hampden Park on 19th December.

There were shades of the 94/95 and 97/98 Cup finals about the game.  Lose, and it would be like Raith Rovers all over again where Tommy Burns’ exciting side just couldn’t see it over the line.  Win, and the trophy success could be used as springboard for the rest of the season, much like Wim Janssen’s famous 1-in-a-row side after their success against Dundee United.

Hibernian struck first in the final, Paul Hanlon opening the scoring on 51 minutes.  Within 60 seconds, however, Celtic were level as Kyogo swept a low shot past Matt Macey to level the scores.

From that moment on there was only ever going to be one winner and Kyogo sealed the game with a sumptuous lob over the aforementioned Macey with 18 minutes left to play.

Some in the media had classed the Celtic support as entitled after the fall-out of the previous season.  But the roar that engulfed Hampden Park at the full-time whistle was not borne out of any form of entitlement.  It was pure and unbridled joy at the realisation that Celtic were back.

It was the realisation that in Ange Postecoglou we have a tenacious bulldog of a manager who has brought passion and respect back to the club by playing football the Glasgow Celtic way.



Leave a Reply