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MARK WILSON has hailed the ‘incredible’ Ange Postecoglou for transforming Celtic from a club at war with its supporters to Premiership champions.
Thousands of fans protested outside Parkhead in November 2020 after a dismal 2-0 defeat to Ross County in the League Cup and had to be held back by fences and police as they called for manager Neil Lennon to be sacked.
Lennon claimed afterwards that shocked Hoops players were ‘pelted with missiles’ by supporters who he insists were ‘giving the club a bad name’.
Further angry dissent followed the capitulation that handed rivals Rangers the league title last season, whilst the search for a new boss last summer, which saw the pursuit of Eddie Howe collapse, was branded an ‘absolute embarrassment’.
But, fast forward a year, with the top-flight title reclaimed, there is a very different atmosphere amongst the Celtic faithful - and Wilson believes Postecoglou deserves all the credit.
The former Celtic full-back said: “After where the club found themselves in the summer, the fans didn’t really know which direction the club was going in and I don’t think many of them in their wildest dreams could imagine being champions.
“The scenes when the players arrived back at Celtic Park [on Wednesday night] showed what it meant to the supporters.
“When you think about it, it was only 18 months ago when there were supporters out voicing their concerns and trying to get to the players. There were ugly scenes.
“How that has been transformed in 18 months is incredible. And there’s one man at the head of it and it’s Ange Postecoglou.
“He comes across so well in his media conferences, the way he speaks to the fans, they’ve taken to him right away and so they should.
“The contribution is huge to the club. To come to the club by yourself I think speaks volumes for the man. That’s someone who’s pretty confident in his own ability, and he had to transform the full club.
“When you think he had to make his staff, already in place, believe in the way he wanted to play and then get that across to the players, it was a huge, huge task.”
Wilson has confessed he did not forecast this season’s turnaround at his old club and reckons the unexpected nature of it makes the title triumph all the sweeter.
He added to Sky Sports: “Everyone’s asked to give their predictions at the start of the season and I don’t remember anyone saying that Celtic had any chance - including myself.
“You saw how Rangers finished the season last year and the way they kept their squad together.
“Celtic were ripped apart, players going out the door, players wanting away. No-one really knew what that squad was going to be or what the manager had in store.
“It was only in September, October that you could see signs of life about Celtic and something very special building.
“When you add that all together, this is right up there as one of the greatest title victories that Celtic have had in many a year.”