Since the day and hour he took over as Celtic manager, Ange Postecoglou has had to deal with the idiots in our media over and over and over again. He must be sick of it by now.
The manner in which he deals with them continues to amuse and entertain.
Last night, when the line-up for the game was announced, there was some surprise at the number of changes. I personally had thought there would be maybe half a dozen.
Nine seemed a lot, but when you looked at the starting eleven what you saw was strength and quality.
That’s the surest sign that we have real squad depth now, when you look at a team with that level of rotation and don’t recognise it as being significantly weaker than one which shot nine goals past its last opposition. That’s how far this team has come.
Ange has been determined, right from the start, that we would reach this point, a point where the team would be strong enough to make that many changes and still prevail.
He has been trying to get the squad here for the last 12 months.
Now that we have, he will make rotation part of his strategy.
This is a long term plan, with European games and domestic games to juggle. This is why we’re doing it, because we can, because we’ve got this team to where he wants it to be.
If you were forced to endure the commentary last night on Premier Sports, you’d know it was pretty bad. Rob McLean anchored the show, and he asked Ange the questions before kick-off. The big guy was less than impressed by his shady opener.
McLean explicitly suggested that Ange had been “thinking about the weekend” when he shuffled the pack so much. Ange’s comeback was all the more impressive for being delivered so off-hand and without a trace of anger. “No, I was thinking about tonight,” he said, as though correcting a child who had made a mistake at the blackboard.
Honestly, I don’t know what answer McLean was expecting. “Yeah, we’re running scared of that fixture” maybe, or something worse? But Ange very gently, but firmly, pushed him off of whatever road it was that he was starting to go down.
Ange was clear that he considers the League Cup one of his priorities. It’s the first trophy he won with us, we’re the holders, and so he won’t compromise on it. He rested players last night because he wanted fresh legs against Ross County and he trusts every member of the squad at his disposal. That’s the truth of it, and I know this is hard for the media to grasp.
Prior to the game he explicitly told everyone in the squad, “We think about one game at a time here.”
He was definitely not thinking about Saturday.