Ange has a reputation – deserved in my view – for being a straight talking Good Guy. I was at the after-match touchline presser this evening, and he seemed in a very good mood for a man who, on the surface of it, delivered some less than good news.
He told us how Kyogo felt ready to play today but that the medical team thought he was facing two or three weeks on the side-lines.
Curiously, Ange then said that Celtic are analysing the situation “day by day.”
Between that and the player’s own declaration it seems to me that there’s not going to be two or three weeks here until we see him again.
Ange is a good and honest man. I like that he’s a good and honest man.
He does talk straight, and he is very friendly and engaging even stood on a touchline in the freezing cold in front of a huddled band of alternative media types, some of us still wearing our scarves from the game.
The big guy is a class act. But he’s also a manager and a tactician and that makes me wonder if perhaps the refusal to rule anything out isn’t a sign that we should be optimistic.
If Kyogo was two or three weeks away there would be none of this chatter going on. I can only conclude that the player has a real chance of making an appearance next weekend, and perhaps even in the midweek coming.
Ange will not rush him – we may have done that with James Forrest and we’ve paid a price for it at a time when we can’t afford to – but he won’t send us to Hampden without our top scorer either, not unless there really is no choice in the matter.
Might Ange be more confident than he’s letting on?
He certainly doesn’t seem as downbeat as the updates would suggest. He’s hedging a little too, and that is interesting because he so rarely does. I think we might be watching a little gamesmanship here, a little maskirovka.
Don’t be surprised if Kyogo is fit and available for the next weekend. Don’t be surprised if he’s fit and available for Wednesday night. Equally, don’t be surprised if the medical team gets their way. But I don’t think that’s likely.
If the door was shut, Ange would just tell us that.
But he’s left it open just a crack, and that suggests that there’s more to this than meets the eye.