They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I prefer to think of it as the lazy version of showing imagination. It is commonplace for precisely that reason. Those who can’t come up with something original piggyback on those who already have.
If you’ve followed Scottish football at all in the past few years you know full well that Celtic, as the biggest club, has been setting the standard by which all others wish to aspire. For a long time, Ibrox has been shadowing every move we make.
That’s why the stories pushing Kevin Muscat are so interesting, and hilarious. Many of their fans have seen what he’s done in Japan and Australia – impressive, as far as it goes – and concluded that this is the guy. He “gets the club” because he’s played for them, which ticks the main box that they value; the uber-staunch one.
This is lack of imagination writ large. They’ve looked at what Ange has done and the only conclusion they’ve drawn from it is that cause he’s Australian and Muscat is Australian and that both have won things in Australia and Japan that that’s all they need. The presumption that Muscat can replicate Ange’s transfer market success by shopping there is equally obvious.
And all of it is so limited, and based on a shoddy understanding of what it is that Celtic has done, and what Ange has been able to do here. This is exactly the same as copying our “transfer strategy” down to the hiring of John Park in some undefined role.
There’s something else that this feeble minds have failed to grasp; Muscat took over from Ange at both of the clubs where he had success. Which means that Ange built those clubs into something special for him, and he inherited Rolls Royce operations.
He has had one job outside the shadow of our manager; at St Truiden in Belgium. He was not exactly a runaway success there; he lasted 15 games before being shown the door. When all the prep work is done for him he can take over a hugely successful operation. It is less clear how well he would do if he inherited a shambles and had to build something up.
They really do think that things are as simple as we’ve made them look. Our transfer strategy, to them, was “wait for offers and name a high price and English clubs will pay it.” So of course they would think “hire an Australian who has managed there and in Japan and raid that league for players.” It is insane that anyone could believe this.
There are other elements at play here at Parkhead. Ange had money to spend, for a start. How much would this joker get if their club was daft enough to try to turn this into reality? Ange has coached the Australian national team; he was, therefore, used to operating in a high pressure environment where you were expected to win. Muscat was one of his coaches.
Their simplistic way of looking at things over there leaves them ripe for further disasters. I hope they do hire this guy. It will be hilarious watching them bring in journeymen and signings from the A League and trying to make all the pieces fit.