As you probably gathered, I am resigned to Ange Postecoglou no longer being Celtic manager by the end of the week.
If he signs a long term deal on Monday, says he’s agonised over it and cannot bear to be parted from our club then no-one will be happier than me … but I don’t expect that anymore.
I suspect it is time to move forward.
We are Celtic. We never stop.
We can wrap ourselves in mourning blankets and cry clutching his framed picture or we can accept the reality of the situation and get on with finding his replacement. We’ll have plenty of time for a proper retrospective once we sort out the immediate problem, which is working out who our new leader is and getting him in place.
Our club has probably been totally blindsided here.
Just a few weeks ago, Ange was talking about next season like a guy who fully intended to be overseeing that campaign.
Spurs situation did, and he was suddenly a major contender for the gig.
This is not Celtic’s fault. We’ve been caught cold and we have a lot of work to do, and I don’t envy the guys in charge of our club at this moment in time.
But when they go and talk to prospective coaches they can offer a lot.
A good salary, the chance to win trophies, Champions League football and an excellent squad to work with. Some of that squad will depart. But there will be plenty of money to replace them.
Celtic’s board have one other carrot to dangle, and really, it’s our club’s unique selling point.
That, my friends, is all of us.
We’re the best thing about this institution and we always were and we always will be.
If Ange goes, he heads down to England to take a job at a club which, like an aged heavyweight, has gotten by on its reputation for years.
But Manchester City are the supreme force in England. Manchester United are on their way back. Arsenal had a storming season and will be looking to do better. Chelsea will shake themselves awake and go again. Liverpool are a force who should never be written off. As for Newcastle, there really is no knowing how good they might be.
The challenge would be formidable enough if the club he was going to was robust and sane and run by a man with a reputation for patience and tolerance. But Daniel Levy is not known for either of those things, and I think this decision is quite mad.
Those who think he’ll be given time are frankly crazy.
Spurs fans aren’t going to accept a season of tinkering until the pieces fit.
They pay for the most expensive season tickets in the country; they aren’t going to tolerate being sixth or seventh on the basis that the CEO tells them that the club is moving in the right direction.
This is the problem with a club surrounded by hype; people start believing it.
The best stadium in Europe? Debatable, but okay. But when you play in those sorts of surroundings you do expect to be able to compete, and anything less and people get fired.
In his defence, I do think he’s genuinely torn.
That’s what lay behind his comments yesterday about not wanting to discuss any of this until someone grabs him and makes him answer some questions. He means Desmond and Lawwell.
I know part of him wants to go to England and chance it.
But I also know part of him gets what he has here and he’s very conflicted about it.
Celtic is more than a club. Ours is an institution.
Our history is rich and deep and impressive.
If we played in England we’d be a bigger club than Spurs, by far … no-one even doubts that. The truth of it is obvious. Their status is an accident of geography, nothing more.
The things that he’s been part of at Celtic, he’s never going to experience them again.
Celtic managers get to see things and do things and be part of things no other managers anywhere get to experience. What he has at this club he’s not going to find anywhere else. It’s not just the reaction we have to success … there’s an ethos here about giving 100% and then a little bit more in support of our team. We live and breathe this stuff.
Do you reckon Rodgers, even on the Wembley pitch after his FA Cup final win with Leicester, was adored and feted and worshiped like he was in those first two years at Celtic?
6000 fans turned up to his Celtic Park unveiling; that’s mental, that’s off the wall.
I remember the pictures of him being unveiled at Leicester; him, on his own, with the empty King Power Stadium as a backdrop, holding that shirt up after he’d promised to “die” for them. Christ almighty.
He’s never going to have again what he had here.
Neither will Ange, but I think Ange would miss it more than Rodgers, because really, Rodgers is his own biggest booster and biggest source of joy. Just looking in the mirror every day is all the affirmation he needs.
Those scenes at Hampden yesterday were incredible, but not terribly unusual for us.
Those scenes at Parkhead last weekend were incredible but not terribly unusual for us.
Those scenes in the streets, outside the stadium, those spontaneous parties … incredible but not terribly unusual for us.
A whole stadium sung the manager’s name yesterday … tens of thousands of our fans sung his name at Celtic Park hours after the match was over. This is what he leaves behind.
Celtic managers get to be part of something bigger than just claiming silverware.
It’s easy for the media to think differently.
These are people who have spent every moment of their working lives taking from the game.
The only people in football who give anything to it as opposed to taking out of it are us, the fans.
People forget that, but it’s true nonetheless, and what Celtic fans give to our club is … well, everything.
Celtic Park is our home, our palace, our cathedral.
As Faithless wrote in another context, “This is my church. This is where I heal my hurts.”
Ange grasped that, by the way, when he talked about wanting to play well for the people who work hard every day and at the weekend come to games to put all that aside for a while and be thrilled.
We will go on.
All those who take from football, all those who take from Celtic … they’ve come and gone over the years.
We remain, the people who put in, and Celtic’s real strength lies where it always has. In us.
And we’re the reason he’s even pondering this decision at all, because at a lesser club he’d have packed his stuff already.
It’s probably not going to matter.
But we’ll have other moments.
When our board goes out to hire the next Celtic boss I wouldn’t even waste time with a lengthy pitch.
Just show the guy those overhead images from the Gallowgate from flag day.
Show him those pictures and videos from outside Celtic Park yesterday.
And then play him the clips of those fans singing “Ange Postecoglou” over and over again.
Then tell the guy, “That’ll be you. You can have that. You can have it all.”
After that, as any good salesman knows, you just have to hold out the pen and wait for them to pluck it from your hand and sign the deal.