Ange is a man of many talents. He’s not only a great manager but he’s a great tactician and strategist, and when he spoke in front of the media and told them that the world is watching – pretty much what I wrote last night, not knowing that Ange had got there first and echoed, almost word for word, what Sutton has said – he was making the message clear.
People can choose to focus on how he said that “we don’t mind if decisions are wrong” but what else is he going to say?
He has always accepted that sometimes officials make mistakes, but don’t make one of your own in assuming that he will simply accept anything. Ange knows that refs are only human, and that sometimes there’s more than human error at play.
He is subtle, but he is not veiling his warnings, they are right out in front.
He might have coached it a little differently to how Sutton did it, but he’s taking his cue from the top of the house in that regard.
Celtic has already told the SFA that VAR in this country risks becoming an embarrassment and a joke, and Ange is simply reminding me that a global audience will be watching this game … if they want to turn it into a global embarrassment or worse, a global scandal, that’s on them.
But they have been warned, and our manager has sent that warning out loud and clear.
They are on notice now and he has made sure of it, and he has done it in such a way as there will be no comeback from it because he’s coached it in terms that they can’t have an issue with.
They know exactly what he’s saying, as Celtic have said it behind the scenes.
Our club frustrates me at times. I’ve already pointed out that doing things this way risks leaving Ange out on a limb, but he’s too smart to take any of the media bait on this stuff anyway. He will never directly challenge the refs or the SFA because that would play into their hands, and the onus then is on the club to say and do what he cannot.
But so long as the message has been communicated, and it is clear, then the club will have done its job whether that happens in public or private. The only way we’ll really know is by watching what the officials decide tomorrow.
We’ve seen certain things happen that should not and certain things which should have happened and have not … these people are creating precedents every day and Celtic has to be all over that and making its case at some level because otherwise this board is not just sleeping at the wheel but has done so whilst firing down the motorway in a car with no brakes.
And I don’t believe that they are that reckless. Ange is speaking for the club when he tells them not to embarrass themselves in front of the world … and you can believe that similar has been said in private, outside of the purview of the disciplinary board.
We’ll soon find out. Kick off in three and a bit hours.