PROUD Ange Postecoglou says he is excited by the prospect of taking his Celtic side to face Rangers in Australia if their city rivals follow them to a friendly tournament taking place down under during the World Cup.
The Celtic manager is thrilled he will get the chance to lead his team out in his homeland, hoping that the appearance in Sydney in late November will go some way to repaying the backing he has enjoyed from Celtic supporters in Australia and the Australian football community as a whole since he came to Glasgow.
And he thinks that Scottish football should be doing more to sell what is unique about our game to the rest of the world.
“We’ve been invited to a tournament in Australia, which for selfish reasons is fairly exciting for me,” Postecoglou said.
“Celtic have been there a couple of times before and it’s always been brilliant for the fans down there.
“We’ve always had a strong Australian connection within the club, whether that is players who have come through here, but obviously if it does happen for myself I would take great pride in taking my team back to the land where I grew up.
“They’ve kind of followed my journey and been very supportive since I’ve been out here.
“But there’s always been unbelievable support for this football club, I experienced it playing with guys who had associations here.
“They have always told me about the strong connections between Celtic and Australia anyway, so for me to go over there as a the manager of the club…
“It’s a bit further down the line mate, so it’s not at the forefront of my thinking, but it will be a proud moment if and when it happens.”
Rangers are yet to officially confirm their own involvement in the tournament, with a club source saying they were still finalising plans for the breaks in March, the summer and November.
When asked if all Scottish clubs should be exploring future options to showcase our game far and wide though, Postecoglou said: “Absolutely, no doubt.
“I don’t think people will be surprised, but the club does have such a global reach anyway.
“For all intents and purposes, if you ask people on that side of the world to name the biggest clubs, Celtic would be amongst them. And they would be amongst the most historic clubs and the ones they feel most connected to.
“Like I said, because I grew up where I did, there was constant connections with Celtic in Australia, so I always felt it was one of those iconic clubs.
“Irrespective of us being on the other side of the world, people were definitely aware of it and followed it.
“I think it’s great that the club is looking to those markets now to keep growing the image of the club and connecting with people who are fanatical supporters.
“You’ve got to understand that in Australia they are getting up at 2am or 3am and going to their local to watch the game, that’s real commitment mate. Most of them are probably going to work the next day too.
“So, they love this football club and it will be great to take them there.”