That, yesterday, was not the straight-talking Celtic boss we have come to know and respect.
If he was committed to Celtic he would have said so once the final whistle had blown and there were no more games for the season. I said on Thursday that he would only be able to avoid the question for so long; yesterday, with nothing else to distract us, he was asked it straight out, and nothing short of a straight answer was going to suffice.
That was the moment, and instead of giving that answer he came off sounding like a third rate politician or a guy who’s been caught climbing out of someone else’s bedroom window.
Look, there are some questions you just can’t dodge your way around like this. He ran out of room to dodge yesterday. He was the one who said that he was focussed on only the game. In the aftermath of that game these questions were not only reasonable but essential and they are the kind of questions where any evasion is an answer all by itself.
There are some things about this that absolutely stink.
I’m not saying he’s wrong to want to explore the option of talking to Spurs; he has that right.
Celtic have rights too though, such as the right to enjoy cup final weekend without this hanging over us.
The right to the protection a long-term contract would have given us and which he and his agents have obviously not wanted to sign. I understand there will be interest in Ange; if he had signed a deal like that I wouldn’t have cared if he left the next day. That is the minimum we deserve for plucking him out of relative obscurity and backing him like no other boss in history.
Our plans for next season are already in place … that guy made those plans.
And now he’s not going to stick around and put them into motion?
This was allowed to dominate the last week, and whilst I appreciate that’s not entirely his fault, there were ways that it could have been handled a Hell of a lot better than it was. He has known far more than he has let on about what’s been happening in the background, and I don’t feel any desire to pretend I believe otherwise.
He stood there yesterday and tried to do his dance when, officially, he doesn’t even have an offer from England or anywhere else at this moment in time. All of it is hugely suspect.
As I said the other day, as much as he sat there at the press conferences before the game and said his mind was only on the match, it’s clear that his agents have been busy boys in the last week.
Yesterday he sounded very much like a man who knows exactly what has been happening behind the scenes.
He must be confident it’s a done deal.
Because how does he even start to row back from this if he’s not got something solid lined up?
What’s his next move?
Pretend none of this happened?
Oh I know some of our fans would be happy to ignore what’s now blatantly obvious if by some chance he happened to stay, but let’s recognise that he had a chance to commit to the club and didn’t do it.
There’s really no way to spin that.
If you asked your significant other if he or she was committed to the relationship and they hesitated, obfuscated and skirted around giving you a direct answer you would be wise to conclude that one of you would shortly be packing their bags.
It doesn’t matter what happens next, that relationship is not going back to the way things were.
When someone doesn’t answer a question like that then things have irrevocably changed. He is not committed to the cause; this is what led to Juranovic and Giakoumakis being sold when they were both one year into long term deals.
He emphasised that point himself; when someone’s not 100% on board then it’s time to move them on.
So the relationship Ange had with us is over, whether he stays or not.
A fundamental shift happened yesterday,
And you know, this leaves us with one Hell of a decision to make.
It would be better, in light of yesterday, for the club to sit him down and offer him a new deal and if he doesn’t sign it then we’ll know what we have to do.
If he goes down to London for an interview at Spurs I genuinely don’t want him to come back.
I very much doubt that anyone at Celtic will feel differently.
Because how can he come back?
That would leave us sitting fearing every managerial sacking down there, and the media would have an absolute blast milking that for all it was worth.
Without his signing a long term deal we’re leaving our club at the mercy of events.
It’s ludicrous to expect the people who run our club to accept a situation like that.
None of us should be put in that position, and especially not the fans.
Come Monday, he needs to be asked to commit, to sign a long term contract, and if he won’t then I would prefer that by 5pm we’re officially in the business of appointing someone new.
The announcement needs to be made, giving us all closure.
We’re Celtic, this is not a one-man cult of personality and someone is only as good as their most recent service to us.
When he evaded the question about whether he is committed to Celtic, his utility to us came to a shattering end.
It is clear that yesterday was the closing of a chapter, and the sooner we start moving onto the next one the more secure the house will be.