Ange Postecoglou is, as we all know, a super smart guy, the kind of man we were hoping for in the manager’s office but probably never expected to get when the Howe deal collapsed. Nobody I’ve spoken to on this thinks Howe would have been a better bet.
It is one of the most fortuitous episodes in our recent history.
It is also one of the strangest. Our board will get away with it, as they got away with the Ronny Deila appointment, but they shouldn’t even if the gamble pays off, which I think it almost certainly will.
The more you hear about the way Ange was hired the more you realise that this board had no idea of the sort of man he was, that they barely knew the sort of boss he was, and they had imagined that they were getting someone who would take what he was given and not rock the boat. How little they understood the amiable, but hard as nails, Aussie.
How, then, did we end up here?
Well, shortly before the Eddie Howe deal collapsed I spoke to the Endless Celt podcast guys and I wondered where we’d go if that deal wasn’t gotten over the line. I worried that we would make some left-field appointment and mess everything up.
And that’s exactly what I reckon we did. We plucked numbers at random and it came up on the lottery. Like throwing darts at a board wearing a blindfold, you will sometimes score.
Ange was part of the Manchester City family, where Lawwell’s son works. Where Ronny Deila is also a coach. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that this was a panic appointment and that the board were utterly clueless about what they had.
There have been so many competing narratives.
Lawwell was involved, then he wasn’t.
McKay took it fully on his own shoulders before that was tossed aside.
Then Nicholson was given credit for it, operating behind the scenes.
Now we’re back to Lawwell again, with one blogger aggressively pushing that line yesterday that we have uncle Peter to thank.
Whatever the truth, Ange himself when speaking to the Aussie media last week blew out of the water any suggestion that this was some kind of long-term pursuit. It’s the same lie, by the way, which Ibrox is telling just now about Van Bronckhorst.
They want to appear as if they knew their man and went after him at once. Bollocks. They were lucky he was still unemployed or they would have been flapping. They needed a name who would keep the fans onside.
But the Celtic lie, that Ange was the end result of much consideration, is frankly ridiculous.
Our board could have interviewed half the managers in Europe before they arrived at the big guy, had they had that kind of time. But Howe meant we were all out of that, and Ange himself admits that Celtic approached him out of the blue and then offered him the job the next day. There was no due diligence here, there was no lengthy process.
He was a panic appointment, which is what accounts for my staggeringly furious reaction at the time when his name broke in the media. I could not believe that my worst fears had come true.
But in point of fact, they haven’t because we have been fortunate.
Ange was not the first choice but he has turned out to be the correct one, and what’s incredible about it is how he has already bent the club to his will. I listened very carefully to what he and Nicholson had to say about a director of football and it seems perfectly clear to me that Ange has vetoed that and the club has had no choice but to go along with it.
He doesn’t want, or need, a babysitter. He wants to reshape the club into his image, not according to some plan hatched by somebody else who isn’t dealing with the players and the coaching staff every day.
Perhaps Celtic wanted to hire some empty suit and that was where Ange drew the line.
Whatever the issue, it appears that the idea of rebuilding the structure in that way died the minute he walked through the door. Ange is his own man with his own plan.
Tomorrow our new leader will take us into a cup semi-final.
The entire support is united behind the man and that endeavour.
It is nothing but good fortune that we got here, and whilst I’ll enjoy it I will not forget that we arrived here by blind luck … this board cannot claim a shred of credit for what this man and his team may be on the brink of achieving.