My second question to Ange at today’s presser was on Bodo/Glimt who beat Roma last night. I asked him if there’s anything that we can learn from a club achieving that with a fraction of budget and one foot in the semi-finals of a European competition.
The answer surprised me, but I guess that it shouldn’t have. It is a glimpse of the hard edge to Ange and his laser-like focus.
To put it bluntly – because he did – the club doesn’t focus on what others do, preferring only to concentrate on itself. I tried to think about this from the perspective of someone who watches what works elsewhere and tries to apply it to Celtic … and immediately understood where he is coming from. He is working to the beat of his own drum.
And that’s what I mean when I say Ange has a laser focus. Bodo knocked us out of Europe, but Ange genuinely does not believe that we can learn any lessons from their style or the way they work. We can only continue to evolve what we are doing in response. He has no interest anyway in a club which gets to the quarter finals of the third tier tournament.
This is not, ultimately, the level he sees us comparing ourselves to.
He has also made a pointed statement about budgets, and how he doesn’t believe they necessarily have a bearing on what clubs can achieve. This is an interesting point as it echoes what he said to me when I asked him in his very first presser in front of the fans about how he sees the use of sports science and analytics; these are just some of the tools he utilises in order to beat the disparity between his teams and those who can spend more.
Bobo and having an interesting season, and they are very clearly a club which has its own fundamentals right. But their fundamentals and Celtic’s are two very different things. They are punching above their weight, and there’s little doubt that this is the case … Ange wants us to be able to slug it out on our own terms, not theirs.
He refers to our history as his benchmark.
Our past achievements are what he aspires to meet, not those of another club. It was not the answer I expected at all – most managers would have gone out of their way to praise what another club is doing and said “yes of course there are things we can learn from them” … not this guy, and it’s not out of disdain for them or their accomplishments.
He sets his star by one set of principles; his.
And that is a better answer than I expected because it reveals his confidence and unshakable will to do this job his way … and the faith he ultimately has in the outcome.