Yesterday, Ange got one of those shit-stirring questions which he has come to recognise so well since becoming the Celtic manager.
His irritation was obvious in the answer, which was a query about whether or not he was concerned that Tom Rogic has eighteen months left on his contract.
It’s one of those left-field queries that surprised him in its stupidity and because the intent behind is so blindly obvious.
This is stirring the soup. This is trying to find an anti-Celtic story wherever they can because otherwise they would have only have positives to write about.
The manager brushed it aside, stating that it’s the furthest thing from his mind.
I wonder if Ange is aware, as the reporter doubtless is, that Morelos and others will be into their final year at Ibrox in the summer too? How come Van Bronckhorst isn’t being asked about that?
In fact, some of their other top players – Helander, Kent, Aribo and Jack – are likewise out of contract in the same window. If this is a pressing question for us, why not over there?
It’s just a stone fact that all those guys have to be punted in the summer, and especially if the title goes to Celtic Park, and it’s ours to lose.
In those circumstances, Ibrox cannot afford to allow them to drift towards January when they can all sign pre-contract agreements and leave for free in the summer of the following year.
They will be available, all of them, at knockdown rates at a club which might well by that time be in freefall.
It shows again how brilliantly we handled the summer.
We could have let our own guys drift off for modest sums, but I know for a fact that Celtic played hardball with the players themselves and all the interested parties. We made it known that, especially in the case of Edouard, that we preferred to let his contract run down that have him leave for a nominal fee.
Rogic will almost certainly be offered, and sign, a new deal within the next few months.
It’s just not at the top of Ange’s list of priorities right now.
At the same time, the club will attempt to tie up deals for Jota and Carter Vickers; we will see how that progresses, but we shouldn’t be overly concerned as both will cost us £6 million apiece and we’ve already seen from the manager that he will know exactly how to spend that money should neither player sign.
And for the record, I reckon we’ll get both of them.
But Ange is not concerned because he probably already has a plan in place for the worst case scenarios in either instance. Just as he probably has a Plan B for the day Rogic departs.
Because at the moment, in his position, we now have three players who can do the job; Tom himself, O’Riley and David Turnbull when he’s back fit. Rogic would be hard to replace, but in the current Celtic midfield he’s only one spoke in the wheel.
We have one heck of a good squad now … and the media is already desperate to see it break up.