An overwhelmed Ange Postecoglou savoured an “unbelievable” triumph after his Celtic side regained the cinch Premiership title following their 1-1 draw away to Dundee United.
The Hoops boss appeared to be slightly emotional as he reflected on a glorious first season in Scotland. The Australian was appointed in June in the wake of a campaign in which the Hoops finished 25 points adrift of Rangers.
In a stunning turnaround, they have now reclaimed the crown from their Europa League final-bound city rivals with a game to spare.
“Fair to say it’s overwhelming,” said Postecoglou. “I’m just really proud of the players and staff. We started so far back in terms of a starting point so to end up where we are is an unbelievable achievement.
“The club had a difficult year without success. Even worse the fans couldn’t do what they love the most. I knew this year would be a pretty important year. As much as steadying the ship, we had to put down a marker for the fans and make an impact. The fact we’ve ended up champions is pretty amazing.”
Postecoglou feels Celtic have managed to fit so much into this campaign after recovering from a poor start in which they won only three of their first seven league games during a period of transition to subsequently embark on a 31-game unbeaten run.
“I’ve said downstairs (to the players), it feels like two seasons in one,” he said. “We’ve jammed in a rebuild season and a season of success.
“I came with the best intentions, I’m a pretty ambitious guy but I knew it would be a tough ask because I knew our starting point and the opposition. After round seven you look where we were and now to be 31 games undefeated has been unbelievable.”
United manager Tam Courts was delighted after the point his side collected was enough to guarantee them a top-five finish and a place in the Europa Conference League.
“It was a really impressive performance from us and it’s great to secure European football. The incentive now is to push on on Saturday (away to Ross County) to get fourth place.
“It means everything to get European football because I give everything to this club and it’s a club I have a strong affinity with. I have a great relationship with the staff, the players, sporting director and owner and you want to deliver for the people who believe in you.
“The job isn’t done – there’s still an opportunity to pick up a further three points but I’m pleased we’ve stepped forwards on a big night. The players showcased themselves and the club really well.”
Reflecting on Celtic’s title triumph, Courts said: “We’ve got full respect for every opponent so all credit to Celtic but by the same token we wanted tonight to be about Dundee United.
“Yes, the champions-elect were coming but we’re not here to play a supporting role. We wanted to put in a performance and get a result to allow us to go to Dingwall and challenge for fourth with a European place already assured.”