Ange Postecoglou has dealt with bigger fools than Rod Stewart before, but I’d wager not many of them.
Of all the “celebrity Celtic fans” the buffoonish buddy of Boris Johnson is far and away the most irritating. I know this is a matter of taste, but his music aside he’s not to mine.
When he compared Ange to Stein the other day our manager was quick to dismiss it.
And yet you know something?
Stewart isn’t always wrong and this time he’s closer to the mark than Ange probably realises.
We’ve all watched Celtic teams all our lives.
For me to say this is the most exciting Celtic side I’ve witnessed is to compare really only Burns, O’Neill and Rodgers sides.
The others I’ve watched were, to varying degrees, a little meh even if some of them – and I’m thinking of the side put out by Strachan in particular – shooting the moon. That side was often bad to watch, but two Champions League knockout stage qualifications confirms that man as one of the best Celtic bosses of my lifetime.
But let me tell you something, when people of my dad’s generation – who grew up watching The Lisbon Lions – tell you that this is as exciting a team to watch as any they’ve ever seen in the Hoops, and are wondering where this man might take us … that’s when you know. That’s when you really know that something special is going on here.
Ange is right to say that Stein stands alone.
Of course he does. And I regretfully acknowledge that he probably always will. If we’re talking, seriously, of who sits just below him on the pantheon of legends, then you’re talking about O’Neill for sure and then the others you can fight over which of them has the greater claim to a place at his side.
Rodgers, if you can overlook his disgraceful exit. Lennon, if you can overlook that he should never have been manager in the first place. Wim, if you care about one title.
McNeil won a couple and nobody mentions him whenever I have this conversation.
But let me tell you something; if Ange Postecoglou wins this treble and makes it five out of six trophies as boss, from where he was, at a standing start, inheriting not a winning side but one that was on its knees, his claim to sit alongside O’Neill will be very strong indeed.
If he can take us even to where Strachan got us in Europe I think he has a claim to being the second most influential boss in our history, especially – and this should tantalise us all – if he becomes the manager who overtakes the Big Lie and beats the Ibrox club’s claimed trophies.
Ange will not trouble himself with such concepts.
Doubtless he would think that frivolous and not worthy of his attention.
He simply wants to be the very best manager for this club that he can be, but I know that right now he’s no longer standing on the shoulders of giants but in a very real sense walking in their magnificent footsteps himself.
And the exciting thing is that none of us has any idea yet how good this man might prove to be.