AFTER 68 seemingly elongated days, Celtic fans were yesterday presented with the new man to take the club into the new season, former Aston Villa and Czechoslovakian national coach, 62-year-old Dr Jozef Venglos.

On announcing the appointment of the new head coach, who has a Doctorate in Physical Education, general manager Jock Brown, who was given the task of finding a replacement for championship winner Wim Jansen, said he was delighted at the acquisition. ''I am convinced he fits the brief I had as well as anyone in the world,'' he said.

Brown added that Venglos, who leaves behind roles with FIFA's technical committee as well as a technical manager's post at Slovan Bratislava, was his first choice as soon as it was known that he would be available.

Asked why it had taken so long to appoint the new coach, Brown snapped: ''What delay? He worked at the World Cup until Monday. What are you talking about?''

At that juncture, chairman Fergus McCann explained: ''It was difficult, the whole process. It was difficult not just to get to those who were prospects, but to get referees, who would give us feedback on individuals.''

Brown also flatly denied that the move was a panic buy in light of Gerard Houllier moving to Liverpool as joint manager and a host of others knocking back his advances, including Norway coach Egil Olsen and former Swedish coach Tommy Svensson.

Clearly uneasy at the line of questioning, he snapped: ''Who said they were signing? We started off by saying we would not comment, confirm, or deny any individual until we produce a man that we have.

''That's what we have done exactly, and, in the midst of all that, we are picking up papers reading all sorts of things.''

McCann, however, conceded: ''It did take time, I agree, but we've done it properly and have chosen a person that brings us qualities we could not find in any other candidate. We're delighted with the credentials he brings to the position.''

Indeed, the new man at the helm does have a wide-ranging managerial career.His biggest success was winning the European Champion-ship with Czechoslovakia in 1976. He also took them to the quarter-finals in Italia 90.

He has also coached the Australian and Malaysian national sides as well as Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon and Turkish side Fenerbahce.

However, he is perhaps best known on these shores as the man who left Aston Villa after less than a year in charge during season 1990-91.

Indeed, only two years ago, a Herald interview with another member of FIFA's technical committee, Andy Roxburgh, revealed that Venglos ''was unable to come to terms with the way the game is played and the way players prepare in Britain.''

However, McCann was quick to defend his record and even went to Aston Villa chairman Doug Ellis for a recommendation.

''He was so lavish in his praise I couldn't get him off the phone,'' said McCann. ''He said he was light years ahead of any other manager he has experienced.''

The man himself says that he learned a lot from his English experience. ''There is one very important point here, that was eight years ago. Many things have happened in British football since then. The tactical work and European build-up was not used so much then, nor were the training methods. However, after some new players and managers came in, it became a much stronger influence.

''You change your view of football in eight years, too, and I am hoping it will be easier to implement something just a little bit different. I am not here to change Scottish football, I am just here to add something.''

Venglos, who has signed a three-year deal at Parkhead, added: ''It's a great privilege to be at a big club such as Celtic. They had 10 players at the World Cup. I am ready to work hard and, hopefully, the players will benefit from me being here.''

He will be assisted in the interim by Eric Black and is aware of the difficulty of replacing Jansen, a hero with the Celtic support after delivering them their first league title in 10 years.

''I think that when you come to a big club there is always going to be pressure. It wasn't my fault that the manager left and I think the fans will understand that.

''I have to work to maintain the standards, then maybe look to improve upon them. I think a new coach brings in a little something new.

''I respect what was done last year and I have faith in the players who are here. I am also very happy to see that the youth development in Celtic is excellent and the structure of the club is done very well.

''With all that in place, I hope to see a first-team squad with a lot of good, young players. The club is in a good state and I think it can go a little bit higher and a little bit further at home and in our European approach.''

Brown stated that money will be available for the new coach if, indeed, he believed the team needed strengthening. However, Venglos is a believer in getting the balance right between spending and nurturing the young talent available.

''I believe there needs to be a balance,'' he said. ''What I have is experience. When I was at Sporting Lisbon I played Paulo Futre at 17. Also, when I was at Aston Villa I managed to bring Dwight Yorke into the team and now he is one of the best players in Britain.''

Venglos will catch the first glimpse of his new charges today against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park in a testi- monial match for Killie's long-serving defender Ray Montgomerie, but it will be from the stands as his work permit details have yet to be finalised.

Eric Black, then, will conclude his spell as acting coach at Rugby Park.

Marc Reiper, Harald Brattbakk, Paul Lambert, David Hannah, and Phil O'Donnell will be missing, with the latter two doubts for Tuesday's Champions' League preliminary-round game with St Patrick's at Parkhead.