Brisbane Roar, Celtic Thunder: A front-row seat to Ange Postecoglou’s Australian sporting history

The former St Mirren, Ross County and Motherwell midfielder witnessed sporting history being made in Australia in 2011.

It was founded by Celtic boss Postecoglou’s Brisbane Roar side, who went unbeaten in 36 games to break the Australian team sport record, held for 74 years by rugby league club Eastern Suburbs.

McGarry played for Perth Glory during Brisbane Roar’s heyday and he was also a victim of Ange-Ball in all his glory.

It was the Glory who were defeated 4-0 by the men of Postecoglou in the record 36th game of that great run.

McGarry, 42, who played for Glory between 2010 and 2014, said:

“I arrived in January 2010 and Postecoglou got the Roar job around the same time,” McGarry said The Celtic way. “There was a major change in personnel, players and coaches left the club.

“When I went to Perth Glory he took over at Brisbane Roar and made a lot of changes to his playing staff.

“Coaches Craig Moore and Danny Tiatto both left. Ange came in and made his own signings and they were smart buys. There was a big turnaround in the first year in terms of players. From the start he made the difference.

“He was given time to implement his philosophy, coaching methods and style of play and from day one of the season Brisbane Roar looked good. They played good football and in 2010/11 Postecoglou started to make real impact. ”

This influence took Postecoglou and company all the way to the abyss of history on November 26, 2011 and a showdown with McGarry’s Glory at Suncorp Stadium.

“I was playing the game where Glory lost 4-0 and Roar set the new record,” McGarry recalls. “They broke us and the record – we had pretty close and good games with them up until then, but they definitely beat us this season.

READ MORE: Linked through Celtic… My best friend Ange Postecoglou and the South Melbourne Scots who shaped him – Steve Blair Big Interview

“It’s never nice to be beaten in any game but the Brisbane Roar team have been very special this season as they showed through the unbeaten streak they started.

“It happened to be Perth Glory who were on the receiving end on the day Australian sporting history was made.

“Not only did we lose, we hit hard too – we were outplayed outside the park. There was a huge crowd and everything was building up to that moment under Postecoglou, who had brought something refreshing and different to the A-League at this stage.”

The presence of Postecoglou could not only be felt in the park. McGarry thinks it was pretty clear too – attractive football attracts a lot of people.

“You could tell he was building something very special,” he said. “The spectators came back and the Postecoglou team wrapped them up at home games.

“Brisbane Roar averaged over 20,000 per game and that was a lot of supporters for an A-League team. They played with style and rolled over us that day.

“If you look back on it now, it was such a significant game. First time in Australia that a professional sporting body went 36 games unbeaten.

“It was really Postecoglou’s explosion into the A-League. Obviously he was first a player and then a coach with South Melbourne and then the Socceroos U17 team but he made a big statement with Roar and that unbeaten run that people really sat up and took notice of.

“Postecoglou has become a really big deal for what he’s achieved with Brisbane over those few years.”

Some 11 years later, Postecoglou is about to do it all again with Celtic.

If the Hoops avoid defeat by Hearts at Parkhead on Sunday, they will also go 36 league games unbeaten under the Australian, which is the second time in his managerial career that Postecoglou has led a team to such a milestone.

Celtic Way:

“What I remember is after the first two or three games of this season – all games are shown live in Australia – I was just like, ‘Wow! Brisbane Roar will be a team to be reckoned with this season,'” added McGarry.

“Football was an eye-catcher and from that first moment, when you watched those games, you knew immediately that Postecoglou was a manager who had a team to watch.

“He made some smart signings as he brought together a decent side with a sprinkling of foreign talent and local players and grew them into a real top-flight side.”

In the 2011/12 season, Brisbane Roar became the first team to win the A-League Grand Final and Postecoglou became the most successful Australian national team manager with four domestic titles.

McGarry insists the Brisbane team was relentless in their pursuit of success. The roar never stopped.

However, they are the reason McGarry has one major regret as a player in the A-League: he never won a Grand Final.

He did manage one, but Perth Glory was denied by – yes, you guessed it – Brisbane Roar in 2012 after being sunk by two late goals from Postecoglou’s team in front of 50,000 fans at Suncorp Stadium.

Two goals in the last six minutes from Albanian Besart Berisha gave the Roar a second championship in the spin and McGarry cursed the fact his rivals “never stopped”.

It’s an all too familiar sight and mantra, especially if you’re from Glasgow.

McGarry, who is looking for a new job in football after leaving his post as Glory’s assistant coach earlier this year, added: “Brisbane won the grand final in 2011, which was part of the 36 games. They never took their foot off the gas.

“The next season they continued to win football matches and the similarities with Celtic in Postecoglou’s second season are back.

WATCH: The Celtic Way Sitdown… with Steven McGarry

“In 2012, Brisbane Roar played Perth Glory again in the Grand Final when they scored two late goals to beat us 2-1. That was quite heartbreaking.

“It’s my biggest regret to have played in the A-League that I didn’t win the league with Perth Glory – they call it the grand final here – and we lost to a team of Ange Postecoglou who played in the last five minutes scored two goals snatches us the title.

“Postecoglou are relentless, their teams just play attacking football at a very intense level. They are in super shape and the number of goals they scored in the last five minutes of games was incredible.”

“I haven’t seen every Celtic game but I’ve seen them against Kilmarnock and they look to me like they’ve already improved. They definitely don’t take their foot off the accelerator.

“From the outside it looks to me like Postecoglou will repeat the success he had with Celtic in Brisbane. It’s all a bit similar to the effect Postecoglou has had since he walked in the door.

“I’m certainly not in the least surprised that he’s already enjoying great success. I noticed with interest that they were close to a 36-game unbeaten streak.

“I think if you asked Ange for his thoughts on all of this, he’d probably say it’s a case of ‘business as usual’. That’s exactly what his teams do. Postecoglou teams win football matches and they are pretty good at it.

“Believe it from someone who knows and who found it out the hard way – not just once, but twice.”

His Brisbane Roar has been effectively replaced by the Celtic Thunder. Parkhead rocks and roars every other week with Postecoglou at the helm these days.

Of course he also brought back the “Glory”.

Just whisper that fact quietly in front of McGarry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *