Former Celtic manager Martin O’Neill has praised current incumbent Ange Postecoglou for backing his methods during a difficult start in Glasgow.
After replacing Neil Lennon last summer, the Australian oversaw mixed results as he tried to put together a new team and implement his philosophy.
The manager’s expansive playing style was widely questioned after a defeat at Livingston in September left Celtic in mid-table.
But after trailing Rangers by six points at the end of 2021, Postecoglou’s team have now added consistency and soared three points clear of their city rivals in the Premiership.
“Very good indeed, excellent,” former Hoops manager O’Neill said when asked about the progress made by the Australian. “From a stodgy start, domestically it’s been really good.
“Looking in from a distance, it seemed a big rebuild was required. It was important that some of the good players stayed on, like Callum McGregor, and some of the players he has brought in have done wonderfully well.
“Sticking to your beliefs as a manager is important. That’s where Ange gains a great deal of respect for me because he stuck with it and believed in it.
“At the start, when results weren’t really there, you start to think maybe he needs to go with a different emphasis or a change of direction, but, no, he stuck to his beliefs and it’s bearing fruit domestically.
“It can be very difficult to do that when results are not going so well, so well done to Ange.”
O’Neill managed Celtic from 2000-2005 winning three league titles, three Scottish Cups and reaching the UEFA Cup final. He has highest win percentage of any Celtic boss at 75.53 per cent – Postecoglou is second with 71.74 per cent.