As elsewhere, chaos and uncertainty have reigned for the past week, Celtic’s has been a calm club in the places that matter.
The AGM may have generated headlines and given the impression of stormy seas, but the fan’s issues with the board don’t matter to the players and the manager and as a result their own plans haven’t been interrupted one bit.
What a nice situation we’ve had at Celtic. We’ve been able to peer over the fence for once and see a shambles.
For all the press has tried to play this down, for all the club across the city has tried to act as though everything is normal it is the worst crisis to hit their club in the last few years and signing up their former player as the new boss hasn’t fixed it.
They still face weeks, if not months, of putting back together what Gerrard broke on his way out the door. Celtic, in the meantime, goes from strength to strength under Ange.
Just listening to him you can tell how excited he is by everything and how much he is looking forward to the cup semi-final and the challenge after it, when we have to travel to Germany.
The pieces are all falling into place for us at just the right time, and the January plans are far advanced. The players are buzzing.
This isn’t the team that was so jaded under Lennon that it couldn’t properly get motivated to defend any of the trophies it had won four years in a row … this is a team which wants to make its own history, a team which wants to be the best.
We are, again, a side hungry for glory with a manager who sees it as more than just a line on a CV or vindication to the rest of the world.
When Ange talks about the fans he speaks as someone who has a clear understanding of what this means to us too … if he fails the first thing he will do is apologise to us. He won’t look for excuses … his first thought will be of how he has let down the supporters. This is a man who gets it, all of it, and without Rodgers’ phoniness.
He has kept this team focussed this week. He has kept their minds where they ought to be, on what’s in front of us and not what’s going on all around us. When he spoke to the Australian media during the week one of the things that came across is how much he understands the unique nature of what it’s like to manage here … totally different, as he points out, from even the top flight in England. It is relentless. He knows how to shut it all out.
This is part of what makes him the perfect man for this job.
It would have been easy for someone not used to all this to come in and be overwhelmed by it. He’s smart enough to know not to become immersed in the madness, but to let it all flow around him.
So things have been quiet, in spite of the anger fans feel at the board, in spite of the circus across the city. Things have been smooth sailing except for the injury issues, but even they have played into Ange’s hands somewhat … these are football problems and this is what he does.
I am absurdly keen for this game. I cannot wait for it. This is what we follow football for, days like tomorrow, which hopefully set up bigger and better days to come.