The BBC has become almost unbearable.
The glee some of them took in yesterday’s result was obvious.
They’ve been waiting for their chance to lord it over this Celtic side for a while. Ange already knows what to expect from them. Repeatedly, since taking the reins, he has had to respond to them angrily or with biting sarcasm.
Yesterday was no exception, and as per usual I thought he nailed it.
The first thing to take note of is that Ange did not hide from responsibility.
He embraced it.
He said that perhaps he’d made too many changes.
He accepts that this may have upset the rhythm of the side. Most people agreed; what’s unusual is that here we have a modern boss who was not afraid to hold up his hands and say maybe he’d gotten that wrong.
It’s a great tactic to use, that one. Immediately, it catches the hacks off guard because, really, they don’t expect managers to do that. Ange handles these people very deftly. He’s got the right attitude.
I always enjoy listening to him, even on the bad days.
And as Paddy Sinat over at 67Hail Hail pointed out this afternoon, they tried to press him on what impact the result might have on “momentum.” Not that “momentum” necessarily matters after you’ve already won the title. Few people expect – although you know some of them do hope for it – that morale will crash so completely that we’ll lose the final.
Ange shot back quickly.
“I mean, like I said, it’s a poor performance, but we’ve had one of those earlier this year as well and we bounced back okay,” which is a typical Ange understatement.
That was the catalyst for the superb run of form which won us the league.
What you didn’t get from Ange was any sense of panic, and we should contrast that with the way in which the Ibrox club reacts to every setback. Plans are tossed aside. Players are thrown under the bus. Threats are issued. Tempers flare.
At Celtic, we react calmly, and we go away and lick our wounds and see what the experience has taught us.
But what it almost certainly has not taught us is that there are things we need to do in the summer.
As we all know, as good as this squad is every single player in it can be replaced by better … and Ange knows this as well as anyone and he didn’t learn that watching one game, he’s known it for a while and has undoubtedly been planning accordingly.
His comments to that effect are interesting;
“Today was an opportunity for some of our guys. It is a tough place to get an opportunity. They need to understand what this club’s about. You don’t get an easy ride, you don’t get a cushy introduction into life as a footballer. It is demanding from the moment you put on a shirt to the moment you leave. It is fair to say it wasn’t just about the guys who came in. Obviously, the changes I made didn’t help but I just thought the general performance, and the level of performance, wasn’t there.”
Whilst not directly addressing the summer, I think we know that he sees areas where improvement is needed. He’s not going to write off guys like Kobayashi after a few months – it would be nonsensical to do so – but he also knows where we need a little more strength in depth.
I expect what we’ll see this summer are the first building blocks of Celtic 2.0
Ange himself has pointed out that the team which stands still is the team that isn’t top for long.
There was never any chance of us making that mistake.
We’ve all seen some issues which need addressed these past few weeks … but I’m sure Ange was way ahead of us there.