A near 10,000-mile journey for the visit of a lifetime with Celtic taking on Rangers at Hampden in the Scottish Cup before dinner with best friend Ange Postecoglou. It had the makings of a perfect trip to Scotland for the Celtic manager's three closest friends and their partners.

Come time for the meal there was one issue, however. The Celtic manager didn't show up.

Postecoglou admitted himself that his actions were "childish", but the anecdote only serves to prove his winning relentless winning mentality.

“When I lost the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden last year, my three best friends and their wives were over from Australia", recounted Postecoglou.

“My wife had dinner booked that night and I didn’t turn up. They’d come halfway round the world and my wife had to entertain them.

“It was pretty childish. But they understood and it was fine. I don’t take losing well."

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For Postecoglou, he's been as obsessed with winning - in a certain style - for as long as he can remember. From his early days as a player in Australia, to his first management gig at South Melbourne and onto Celtic there has always been a burning desire to succeed while implementing his ethos - affectionately known as Angeball around Parkhead.

"It’s just the way I am as a person," said Postecoglou when asked where his relentless attitude and approach came from.

"I love winning. I’m obviously not a fan of losing.

"It’s the winning that drives me more than the fear of losing.

"I don’t take defeats well but I just enjoy winning. I enjoy what that does to people, to groups that achieve it.

"I enjoy building teams, I love that process. But it’s got to be building to an end goal. And that’s to win things.

"As much as my passion is the team playing a certain way, the reason I am passionate about that is that I love success. It has brought me a lot of success and that’s why I continue to coach the way I do and play the way I do.

"Because I want to keep winning things.

"Whilst others are chasing just the win I’m chasing more than that.

"I’m chasing a win playing a certain way. When that’s your driver you are never going to stand still or bask in the glory of a victory.

"You are always going to go for the next one with a better performance.

"If you want to achieve or stay in the game for a long time that’s the point of difference.

"Because there isn’t a manager out who doesn’t want to win a game of football.

"If you’re going to last in this game it’s got to be something more than that that drives you."

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The Viaplay Cup takes on huge importance for Postecoglou - not just because of a showpiece final against Rangers, or it being the first silverware of the year but because it was the first tangible success that helped kick-start Celtic into the irresistible force they have become under the Australian.

"It’s fair to say we had a rough start early doors in Europe and in the league," Postecoglou said. "By the time the cup final came round we had sort of steadied the ship in the league.

"Even at that stage people were supportive. The supporters understood that we weren’t quite there but they could see the direction in which we were going.

"The players were beginning to embrace the way we wanted to play too but there’s no doubt winning something so early accelerates that process.

Glasgow Times: Michael Beale and Ange Postecoglou with the Viaplay Cup trophyMichael Beale and Ange Postecoglou with the Viaplay Cup trophy (Image: SNS)

"Particularly in terms of belief within the players and the staff. We were in the embryonic stages of our development but if we could win something this early on the path then there’s a good chance we can have success.

"I thought it was important because if we hadn’t then any hiccup along the way might have had stronger consequences.

"We had a couple of small blips after that but the fact we had won something accelerated the while thing.

"It’s not blind belief in terms of people thinking ‘okay well we’ll just listen to everything he says’. It allowed everyone to buy in – players, staff and our supporters – that there is something tangible building here. It’s not just words or something abstract.

"We have seen it and we have had success.

"And then the players think they don’t want to miss out and they really buy into the way you want to train and to play."

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Celtic - in recent seasons - have been dominant domestically with winners medal after winners medal. However, there are just two first team players remaining since 2019 in James Forrest and Callum McGregor.

The semi-final win over Kilmarnock was a first trip to Hampden for a handful of players but Postecoglou has no concerns over his players, staff or himself handling the occasion.

After all, Postecoglou first worked in Australia where the league title was decided by a grand final.

He said: “It comes a little bit with experience. I’ve had success in big games from when I first started managing.

“But at the start, I probably did fall into the trap of treating it just like any other game.

“In Australia when I first got into management, the champion was decided by grand final after a play-off series. So to be champion, you had to win the big game, no matter what you did during the season.

“Everything was geared towards that. I tried to build a team that was able to perform on the big day and we won it back-to-back in my second and third season.

“In my first year, I tried to keep things as normal as possible but you can’t.

“When the players go home, there is so much more attention from everyone.

“So after that I’ve just embraced it. You have to make the players realise it is a big game and there’s something on the end of it."

Ange Postecoglou was promoting Viaplay's exclusively live coverage of the Viaplay Cup Final between Rangers and Celtic on Sunday from 2pm. Viaplay is available to stream from viaplay.com or via your TV provider on Sky, Virgin TV and Amazon Prime as an add-on subscription.