All of us have opinions on how Ange should handle his team selections and tactics.
All of us are aware that our manager is still being given a torrid time from the media, although he handles it brilliantly and it seems to be water off his back. He is at the centre of a storm, with every one of his decisions analysed over and over again. It must be tough.
But Ange is handling that too, and he is doing so in some style.
This guy is so confident in his own decision-making that the pressure seems to slide off him. In the next few days he is going to have to make a major choice, and in doing so he will cast aside two things that rattle lesser men; the opinions of his critics (no problem as we’ve seen) but also his own ego.
You can see why he has taken some of the decisions which have been dissected this season so far, but that will not stop the press from second guessing them. It never does when it’s a Celtic manager. I wrote earlier of how he has a better win ratio than Gerrard; it tells only part of the story, but that story is not being told in the mainstream press.
Ange knows his judgement is better than theirs. He analyses every problem and considers the best solution. The best one. Not the one others think he should take.
He has analysed the possibility of playing Giakoumakis and Kyogo in the same team, and he will do it again. He will have analysed whether or not the partnership of Kyogo and Jota is a better bet. And when he makes his decision he will base it on what’s best for the club.
I remember the night Lennon played Christie up front against Ferencvaros.
When it ended in disaster and he was being roundly condemned for it, Lennon refused to accept that he had gotten it wrong. He played Christie as a striker against Motherwell just days later as if thumbing his nose at those who had called him out, including our own fans.
Let me be clear; I don’t believe that Ange got it wrong by playing Giakoumakis at the weekend.
I don’t believe he got it wrong when he put the two of them in the same team, with the Greek up front, against St Johnstone.
He knows what the rewards will be if he can get these two up to speed in the same side. But some people will look at that result last night and conclude not only that he did get those decisions wrong but that he either realised it or bowed to the pressure.
But Ange did none of those things.
The decision to give Kyogo a rest paid off last night in spades, as the Japanese bhoy was way ahead of everyone on the pitch. His decision to bench Giakoumakis was not because the Greek didn’t play well at the weekend, it was because the three men he did put up front were the better bet.
Ange will make these decisions regularly.
He will rotate as he sees fit.
He will chop and change the team to suit the circumstances and the opposition.
He will not let his own ego drive him into stubborn persistence with something that doesn’t work, or because he feels like poking his critics in the eye.
He doesn’t do that.
Ange just wants to succeed, and if some of the clowns in the media think that he has “seen the light” and accepted their “wisdom” he doesn’t give a damn … his decisions are more clearly thought out than that. This guy is the real thing.
The more I see Ange perform the more respect I have for the way he does things.
The more I watch this guy put his plans into action the more I believe that for all the madness and chaos of the summer that we have somehow stumbled onto a man who isn’t just a good fit for the job but a perfect fit for the club as we, the supporters and fans, see it.
I want every Celtic manager to succeed, of course, for the good of our club.
But I want this guy to succeed because he deserves to, because he’s a good and decent man, because his football philosophy is right, because he is so honest and straightforward in his approach.
It takes a big man to admit when he makes mistakes.
It takes a bigger one to work on, his way, and not care if people think that they were right and he was wrong and that he’s seen the error of his ways.