THE job that Ange Postecoglou has done so far at Celtic Park has been remarkable. After inheriting a team of wantaway players that had their dominance of Scottish football ended in emphatic fashion in the previous campaign, the Parkhead club have reclaimed their Premiership crown in style as new players have arrived a different approach to playing the game has been implemented.

It all could have been so very different, though. Celtic supporters will need little reminder of the club’s prolonged pursuit of Eddie Howe last year that ultimately proved fruitless. Fans now consider that whole saga a blessing in disguise thanks to Postecoglou’s subsequent impact but the Greek-Australian experienced a sliding doors moment of his own last summer.

Having already decided to leave Yokohama F. Marinos at the end of the Japanese season, Postecoglou had avowed to travel across the world and finally try his luck at top-flight European football. And when AEK Athens came calling, it looked like he had found exactly that.

The 56-year-old was in talks with the Greek outfit before they eventually settled on Vladan Milojevic. The rejection stung Postecoglou but as it transpired, Athens’ loss would be Glasgow’s gain. Almost immediately, in fact.

“AEK was a possibility, almost at the same time as Celtic,” Postecoglou said. “It was a sliding doors moment.

“At that time of year clubs are looking for managers and we got really close. They went another way and literally a day after that I got a call from Peter Lawwell.

“I then had a chat with Dermot Desmond and it was done within 24 hours.

“Yeah [it was a turning point in my life] but that’s been my career as a manager. Things have just happened without me really seeking it.

“I have tried to do the best I can in the role I have and by having success, opportunities come along.

“It was difficult to see myself on this side of the world. I had brief chats with people but there was still no recognition of what I had achieved.

“It was going to take the stars to align for me to get an opportunity. It’s worked out and I couldn’t be happier.”

As the Celtic manager alludes to, there was a sense of frustration from Postecoglou before he jetted in to Scotland last summer. He craved a shot at the glitz and glamour of European football but having coached almost exclusively in Asia, he found recognition hard to come by.

Even the fact that he was noticed by Celtic, he says, was down to a serendipitous stroke of luck. His previous club, Yokohama F. Marinos, are linked to the City group, who own clubs worldwide including Manchester City, who employed a certain Mark Lawwell as a scout.

Lawwell told his father that Postecoglou was one to watch and the coach’s name was scribbled down as a potential candidate for the Celtic job, should it ever become available. Peter Lawwell took note and, as the former Parkhead chief executive explained in an interview with Australian media last week, made his move after years of studying the manager’s progress.

“I wasn’t aware I was on Celtic’s list before that,” Postecoglou said.

“The hard part for me was, how was I ever going to get this side of the world to notice somebody like me doing his stuff in leagues and countries that Europe will rarely have a look at.

“I guess the fortunate thing for me was that I was at Yokohama, who had a link with Europe by being part of the City Group.

“Again, fate put its hand in and there was a connection with Peter and Mark Lawwell, who is now coming to us.

“For someone like me to end up in a job like this, it would have to be some sort of bizarre set of circumstances for it to happen.

“I couldn’t have done any more than I’d done to be honest, but otherwise I don’t think I’d have got a look-in.”

It has been a manic spell of Postecoglou’s career. As he arrived in Glasgow immediately after the Japanese season concluded, the last 18 months have been filled with plenty of work and scant respite.

The man with the mantra ‘we never stop’ is certainly due a break and he will be trying his utmost to recuperate over the coming weeks. But this is Postecoglou we are talking about: switching off entirely is a near-impossibility.

“I will get a break,” he says. “It’s a break in inverted commas as you never stop working. But I need to spend time with my family and I want to.

“I have a responsibility there with two young boys and my wife gets on with real life while I do the fun bits. I want to spend time with them and I do need a break.

“I said during the week that it’s taken every bit of me this season.

“I came from Japan to Celtic and I have done a season and a half without a break.

“I need to recharge the batteries and what I do know is that the expectations at Celtic - and my expectations - will be to be better.

“To do that, I have to be ready to go.”