Billy Stark knows a thing or two about the romance that comes with playing The Celtic Way - and it certainly wasn’t all hearts and flowers.

His role in Celtic’s centenary season, when the club celebrated the milestone with a domestic double, gave him a glimpse of the good life. Later, as assistant to Tommy Burns when the former Celtic player lost his job on the back of a philosophy that yielded just one league defeat in the entirety of a season, Stark saw the full extent of the heartbreak when it proved insufficient to topple a dominant Rangers side.

But as Ange Postecoglou looks to get Celtic back on track this weekend against Ross County following defeats to Rangers and AZ Alkmaar, Stark reckons Burns would have approved of what the Greek-Australian is trying to do at Celtic.

“The first thing I’d say is that I think Ange conducted himself very well given what he walked to and the circumstances around his appointment,” said Stark.

“I think he comes across as straight-talking, which you can respect. His story chimes with Celtic too and I think he was fairly honest when he first came in. But committing to this kind of attacking football was always going to win admirers because of everything around the club and its foundations.

“If he didn’t know the pressures of Celtic – and that isn’t to be patronising because the guy has managed at the World Cup – he will have an inkling of it now. There is nothing quite like losing to Rangers to bring things into sharp focus.

“Not that I suspect it will change his mantra at all. Tommy would have enjoyed some of the football that has been played these past few weeks.

“Tommy wasn’t stupid either; he could see that if you want to play a certain way then you need to have the defensive structure there to support it and enable the guys to go and play on the front foot all the time.

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“But I’d have to say that I think Celtic should have won at Ibrox last Sunday. I think that the first goal there is so important when you are Celtic and in front of the Rangers support. If Odsonne Edouard had taken that chance then my money would have been on Celtic going on and winning but these are the small margins that keep you awake at night.

“I do think that defensively they look a bit vulnerable and it’ll irritate Postecoglou that they lost the game to a set-piece. The window was strong in terms of numbers and reinforcements coming in so it will be interesting to see just whether it gives him scope to change things about.”

Amid the fallout from last season, there were accusations that Celtic’s conduct on and off the pitch was reminiscent of the dark old days of the 1990s. Pre-Fergus McCann and the establishment of a modern-day entity as well as a modern stadium, Celtic’s plight was grim as they suffered their longest drought since the nine-year barren spell which led up to the 1965 Scottish Cup win.

Stark was there for the harrowing end to the 90s dry run when a nervous 1-0 win over Airdrie delivered the same trophy to Celtic Park. Before that was the hell of Raith Rovers on a bleak November night and the daily pressures of a rampaging Rangers sweeping all before them. There was the odd victory over the Ibrox side to offer sporadic encouragement but the chasm between the clubs was vast, on and off the park.

However chaotic last term was, its unravelling would be difficult to compare to season after season of enduring such circumstances that were a far cry from celebrating domestic trebles on a regular basis. Still, Postecoglou inherited a squad that seemed disaffected and aimless with Stark in a position to appreciate the complexities of reinvigorating a club and a team.

“It is a transitional time,” said Stark. “I know how intense it was for Tommy, he was up against arguably the best Rangers team ever as they went for nine in a row. We operated at Hampden for a season with Celtic Park being rebuilt and that was incredibly tough.

“Fergus done great things for Celtic but there was a feeling at that time that he didn’t get the whole 9-in-a-row thing the way that Tommy and I did, especially Tommy.

“Fergus was more focused on the business side of things, getting the stadium ready and moving the club forward whereas we were all about what was happening on the park. Of course, that led to friction at times when we were trying to get players in and compete.

“You are also doing all that while under a gaze that is incredibly intense. Any problems are magnified over and over at Celtic because there is so much scrutiny on the club and the players, performances and results.

“I do think that it is a job that has an impact on everyone who does it, both at Celtic and at Rangers because the pressures are constant.

“But you look back and that team who lost just one game would have had enough points – by a distance too - to win the league the year that Celtic stopped the 10 under Wim Jansen.

“People criticised us for too many draws but if you looked around Europe that year we maybe had two or three more than average, but we had lost fewer games. As time goes by and there is a bit of distance, you don’t think about it the same way but in the years after it, it does gnaw at you a bit because you know just how small the margins are and were.”

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Some of those draws might have translated into wins had Celtic had a match-winner in their ranks. Rangers had Paul Gascoigne and Brian Laudrup to turn a game back then, crucial at picking up points where some may have been dropped.

Last season Celtic struggled for leadership as much as match-winners but there was an immediate lift with the arrival of Kyogo Furuhasi this summer. The Japanese forward may still be causing Postecoglou some angst following the call to play him wide when he was significantly more effective through the middle, as witnessed in the latter stages of the game.

“His movement is something else,” enthused Stark. “I think you see the lift it gives a squad when you have a player who comes in with that kind of ability. There was so much confidence in those early performances and, although he’ll have been stung a bit by Ibrox, he is a player who looks as though he has so much to offer at Celtic.

“He is a joy to watch and I think that confidence has a positive effect on everyone. You can sense it when you have that in your midst, someone who can go and do something out of nothing and turn a game.”