Ernie Merrick believes Ange Postecoglou is thriving in Scotland and his Celtic team will be a thorn in the side of Rangers this season.
Postecoglou left Japan in the off-season to take over at the Hoops. With 13 rounds played Celtic sit second on the Scottish Premiership table, just four points below their bitter Old Firm rivals.
After an up and down start, the Bhoys are undefeated in their past seven league matches, are through to the semi-finals of the Scottish League Cup, and are undefeated in their past two Europa League matches.
Merrick has known Postecoglou for over 30 years and is confident the 56-year-old can be a success at Celtic Park.
“I think he’s doing really well,” the former Melbourne Victory, Wellington and Newcastle coach told FBTL.
“He’s not only doing well on the field but he’s handling the press really well.
"The press are pretty ruthless in Scotland, and lets face it, in Scotland everyone has a local team they support and then they choose between Rangers and Celtic, because they’re the only teams that win it.
“And because they dominate, and because they have the money to buy all the best players, they dominate the scene. And if you go three or four or five points behind the other, as Celtic did, and then it’s all over.
“People will say Rangers are going to win, Angie Postecoglou has lost too many games and that’s him done and dusted.
"But he’s resilient, he’s stuck with his brand of attacking football, he’s shown that it shouldn’t be finished after a few games, there’s a whole season to go.
“So I think he’s handling the press really well, he’s got the fans behind him, the Parkhead boys, the Celtic fans are right behind him and he’s got to be a real threat to Rangers this year.”
Merrick coached against Postecoglou in the NSL and A-League, and has worked alongside him as well.
He says if the ex-Socceroos boss is a hit in Europe then it will have a big impact for other Australians.
“It will be massive for Australian coaches,” Merrick said.
"I worked with him when I was the VIS, he’d bring me as an assistant when he was coaching the Under-17s and the Under-20s.
“So I’ve known Angie for a while. I remember coaching against him when I was at Sunshine George Cross in the old NSL.”