What a superb answer Ange gave today to the obvious question about the new boss at Ibrox. Beale is the new darling of the media, and this city can only really have one of those at a time. Ange will not give up that crown without a fight.
Beale may have smarmed them, but Ange will always be able to charm them.
That response he gave today when asked about Beale, and how in the range of things he’s thought about this week it came lower than what to have for dinner tonight, was not just deliciously devilish but it was dismissive of all the hype from a man who has nothing to prove.
Ange has seen off two Ibrox bosses already, and Beale was part of the coaching team when Gerrard left.
I don’t care what any of the fans over there say, that entire staff saw the writing on the wall and knew that our manager was coming for them, and they jumped ship before the ship went down. Beale has the cheek to try and intimidate us with all that “we were four points clear when we left” guff, but we had dropped ten in the first seven matches.
It was Celtic, not the Ibrox club, which was on the ascendant. We were the ones setting the pace by then, and it was a matter of time before we overtook them and they knew it. They were heading for a similar Celtic Park pasting to the one Van Bronckhorst suffered. Twice. Nobody who looks at this stuff with a neutral eye is in the least doubt of it.
I think Ange is probably lazily amused by the way Beale has been talking in the press this past week, as if he only has to roll into Glasgow and be crowned as a conqueror. The big man knows that it’s not that simple, and that unless his opposite number hits the ground running he’s going to find all this very difficult to navigate.
The fans over there will not give him time, so a settling in period is a luxury he won’t get and therefore cannot afford. Ange, on the other hand, has been through all that already and knows the lie of the land. He’s entitled to be very confident.
Ange is going to eat him alive, and that’s why amidst the devilment today there was a genuinely dismissive tone to what he had to say. None of this bothers him at all. He knows how strong our position is.
He knows how strong his own is.