An emotional Ange Postecoglou admitted he was lost for words after sealing his first league title as Celtic manager.
Needing a single point against Dundee United a 1-1 draw at Tannadice secured the club’s tenth Premiership success in eleven years.
Visibly drained by the relentless demands of his first season in Glasgow, the former Australia boss admitting to feeling ‘overwhelmed’ by the way his team recovered from three defeats in their opening six games to claim glory.
Ange Postecoglou has won the championship in his first season as Celtic manager
A point for Dundee United secured European football for the first time in 10 years after a wonder-strike from on-loan Dylan Levitt.
After taking the lead through a 15th goal of the season from Giorgos Giakoumakis early in the second half however, the night belonged to Celtic and their manager Postecoglou.
“It’s pretty special,’ said the manager. ‘For the first time this year, I’m lost for words.
‘I’ve done about ten terrible interviews and this won’t impress anyone either. It’s fair to say it’s taken every ounce of me.
‘I’ve put everything into it because I knew how big a challenge it was. Now we’ve done it and the overriding emotion is one of relief and satisfaction and you feel drained because we’ve had to be really focused this year and not get distracted.
Postecoglou celebrates winning the title with Callum McGregor after draw at Tannadice
‘Fair to say it’s overwhelming – I’m just really proud of the players and staff. We started so far back in terms of starting point so to end up where we are is an unbelievable achievement.’
Fourteen months ago a goalless draw at Tannadice gift-wrapped the title to Rangers and sealed a trophyless season. Despite the doubts which accompanied his unheralded appointment Celtic will end the season with a League Cup and a League title to show for their efforts.
‘The club had a difficult year without success. 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.,
‘It feels like two seasons in one. We’ve jammed in a rebuild season and 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.
‘I wanted the players to enjoy it. It’s not easy to do what they’ve done and perform. There’s such a strong bond as a group. We never shy away or make excuses or allowances for anything.
Hoops striker Giorgos Giakoumakis (right) gave the hosts the lead with a 53rd-minute strike
‘To keep going, it’s their moment, they’re the ones who accomplished this task. I wanted them to enjoy it and understand what they’d achieved.’
The first Australian coach to win a significant European league, Postecoglou stood back from his players as they soaked up the applause of 5000 travelling supporters at the final whistle.
Eventually accepting the plaudits as fans chanted his name, the Parkhead boss was moved by his reception.
“It’s hard for me to comprehend. I’ve had this lifelong dream to manage a world famous club, trying to make an impact.
“I’m in this spot now of achieving something I’ve always wanted to achieve. I guess it’s a weird kind of feeling for me.
‘I’m delighted – it was always going to be a big ask to take something. In the first half we saw a spirited performance.’
The Greek star headed past ‘keeper Benjamin Siegrist after a superb Anthony Ralston cross
A point proved a satisfactory outcome for Dundee United as Tam Courts secured fifth place – at least – and European football in his first season as manager. Victory over Ross County in the final round of games on Saturday could still claim fourth in the cinch Premiership and Courts was delighted with the performance of his team after Celtic won their last two visits to Tannadice 3-0.
‘At half-time it was more a challenge to be an attacking threat. Probably on another night we’d have taken three points.
‘It’s great to secure European football and the incentive now is to push on on Saturday to get fourth.
‘It means everything. We give everything to this club. It’s a club I have a strong affinity with and I have a great relationship with the staff, the players, sporting director and owner.
‘But also the job isn’t done – there’s an opportunity to pick up a further three points. But I’m pleased we’ve stepped forwards on a big night and the players showcased club really well.
‘We’ve got full respect for every opponent. All credit to Celtic but to 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 and to allow us to go to Dingwall to achieve fourth with Euro spot assured.’