I thought Ange Postecoglou’s video on leadership, which is the latest outstanding piece of content from the club’s increasingly impressive media department, was excellent. It reflected well on the man and it reflected well on our club.
It makes us look forward thinking and progressive to have such a manager at the helm. I hope that’s how we intend to act from now on.
Ange has brought a freshness to this club which was long lacking. What his comments made clear is that he would not be an easy man to replace. There is no magic formula for finding a manager such as this, and no manager who tried to copy his blueprint would have a hope in Hell of succeeding. He made that clear during the interview.
This stuff can’t be learned from others. I know there is a school of thought that says that everything can be taught and that you only need the right teacher, but Ange is right. Leadership is more to do with the person than with some checklist you can tick off one box at a time. Ange has spent a lifetime moulding his managerial style.
And what a simple, pure philosophy it is. To treat each person as an individual but to emphasise over and over again that they only get individual success if the team is performing.
There was something else, something that should have Ibrox fans in a cold sweat. You need to instil in each player a certain confidence; throwing individuals under the bus is a bust because as well as winning as a team a club also loses as a team.
He makes the concepts he works by sound very simple. Like when he says that the key is to be yourself and to be authentic. Because to try and put on an act, or to wear another face, doesn’t fool people for long. This is something else The Mooch hasn’t learned yet, and the way he’s trying to copy Ange and his way of doing things is equally grim.
But what comes across more than anything is that underneath the apparent simplicity of what Ange preaches is a high degree of sophistication. Ange is not what he seems, and that means that our team is not what it seems either. The man is a highly complex individual and what he’s building here is a highly complex machine.
Think on what he said about having to mould a dressing room filled with different personality types and from all different backgrounds into an efficient winning football team. Think for a moment on how incredibly difficult that task is … and look how easy he makes it look. When we talk of Ange as being an elite level manager that’s what we mean.
Only the very best know how to do this. Only the smartest and most cultured leaders can mould together individuals from disparate circumstances and get them all on the same page, with every single one of them looking up to him.
It seems almost absurd now to recall that when this man took the helm that one of the things that concerned some of us was that he might not be able to command a dressing room, that he might not be able to generate the magnetism and the force of will to cultivate that sort of respect. He didn’t come from a top European league, he was not a known quality … and it’s clear that he was able to turn things around in short order.
Now the belief flows through this team in the way it flowed from him, right from the beginning. Everything he’s done at Celtic can be seen through the prism of that interview. Even when things weren’t going so well in the first few games, he exuded that confidence, that clear-headed belief that his ideas would turn things around.
You definitely cannot teach that. You either have it or you don’t.
So yeah, I felt Ange, as ever, gave a great account of himself and spoke brilliantly. But more and more I’ve come to realise that our club deserves more credit here than I’ve ever given it in terms of this man. And perhaps I should have got that before now.
Because whilst I still believe that we fluked this appointment, made in haste, in high panic mode, it now seems obvious that we bet everything on this guy and believed in that bet.
When he did his interview for the job, the board would have started from the premise that we didn’t know what we were getting … and so when he made the demands for total control, as he must have, and for the right level of backing, as he clearly did, they could have dug in their heels and reminded him that he was relatively untested in Europe and that this was his big break.
But instead this board recognised that he was special, and acquiesced to those demands, demands which many of us would have thought ridiculous. At that point the club was still committed to a director of football model; Ange didn’t want that and got his way. We were determined to go with a scouting system based on the old pre-Brexit understandings; he set out to take us on a global hunt and broadened our horizons massively.
And they supported that vision, and not only in a modest fashion but they went all in behind it. They believed in him, they saw that the vision was right and they gave him everything he needed in these first two seasons to realise it … and the results are astonishing.
So for the first time since he was appointed I am ready to look at it from their point of view. I think they very quickly saw the scope of what this man was offering us and they backed him to the hilt. They deserve acknowledgement for that and all the praise going. As long as they continue to back this man’s vision I don’t think we have anything to fear.