Ange Postecoglou, Celtic, state of play, analysis, will Postecoglou go to the Premier League, next job, latest, updates – TOTOCC
Just one win separates Ange Postecoglou from accomplishing a feat achieved only seven times in Celtic’s grand history.
The domestic treble — the Scottish Premiership, Scottish League Cup and Scottish FA Cup — is within touching distance for the Hoops.
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The League Cup has already been secured and so too has the league title, while a date with second-tier Inverness Caledonian Thistle looms in the Scottish FA Cup Final on June 4.
What makes this feat even sweeter is the fact Postecoglou’s side knocked out bitter rivals Rangers in both cup competitions and will finish ahead of them in the league standings.
Each trophy hoisted above Postecoglou’s head only strengthens a bond between manager, club and fan rarely seen in modern football.
But it also means the links for Postecoglou and Premier League clubs will not relent.
There’s a strong case for the former Socceroos boss to park up in Glasgow for the foreseeable future.
Guaranteed trophies, an adoring fan base and the opportunity to compete against Europe’s elite has an enormous pull.
But so too is the chance to test yourself in the biggest, most watched league on the planet with access to finances teams across the continent could only dream of.
It’s unlikely The Clash’s hit song ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’ is played on repeat on Postecoglou’s Spotify account, but at some stage, he’ll be faced with such a predicament, if he isn’t already.
Postecoglou and Celtic claim Premiership | 02:33
EURO-SIZED ‘CARROT’ LEAVES ANGE BEGGING FOR MORE
Everywhere Postecoglou has stopped off on his managerial journey he has won a trophy and, in some cases, more than one.
But should Postecoglou match a feat Celtic managed just three times in a staggering 113 years before an unprecedented run of four trebles in a row from 2016 to 2010, it would be his most successful spell at a single destination.
Hamish Carton, the author of Never Stop: How Ange Postecoglou Brought the Fire Back to Celtic, conceded Celtic’s 2016/17 ‘invincibles’ treble “is never going to be beaten.”
But should Postecoglou complete the clean sweep, it would certainly come close.
“I think it would be the second best out of that recent run of five,” Carton told foxsports.com.au.
“Just given that the connection there is between the fans and the team and how relentless we’ve been.
“Also given we’ve beaten Rangers in all three competitions, I think that makes it special. We’ve beaten the second-best team in the country in every competition to hopefully win the treble.”
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Ange emotional after Premiership win | 00:44
With the objective of retaining their status as kings of Scotland secured, it also means Postecoglou will get another crack at leading his troops in the lucrative UEFA Champions League.
Thanks to Scotland being ranked ninth in UEFA’s coefficient table at the conclusion of last season, the Scottish Premiership champions receive automatic entry into the group stage.
Postecoglou was handed a brutal reality check in terms of the ruthlessness of Europe’s elite in his debut Champions League campaign.
Despite creating plenty of chances, even against the likes of defending champions Real Madrid, Celtic shipped 15 goals across their five group games.
But the heartening fact Celtic more than held their own and played Postecoglou’s eye-catching brand of football should provide plenty of respite even if they didn’t win a game.
It’s why Socceroos legend Robbie Slater believes Postecoglou will want to stay in Glasgow to right those European wrongs.
“The only question mark over Celtic this season is the Champions League,” Slater said on the Fox Football Podcast.
“That’s one of the reasons I think he’ll stay. I think the Champions League carrot of going again.
“(He’s) experienced it with this group of players, there’s some new ones but this group of players largely have experienced that one (campaign), which might make them do even better in the next one.
“I think that makes him stay.”
Champions League aside, the mere fact Postecoglou is at a massive club cannot be understated.
Throughout his entire managerial career, the 58-year-old has yearned for a job that would reflect the passion he has for the game.
At Celtic, it’s a match made in heaven.
Granted, the success Postecoglou has had in Glasgow is aided by the deep pockets of the club, resources which blow almost every team in Scotland out of the water.
It inevitably led to Rangers boss Michael Beale’s infamous “lucky man” jibe due to the funds available to Postecoglou but, in typical Ange fashion, the Aussie had the perfect reply.
And it highlights just why he loves the job so much.
“I would never use that language about somebody in my position,” Postecoglou said.
“I’m not sure which bit is ‘lucky’. I think Michael at the time was referring to the fact I had money to spend but I didn’t get to this position out of luck.
“I worked 25 years of coaching to be entrusted at a club like this. This isn’t my first job.
“If it was my first job maybe I’d be lucky but it’s not, it’s 25 years of hard work.”
Trophies, constant participation in the Champions League and an adoring fanbase is a lifestyle Postecoglou could get used to.
But, as his managerial career has shown, he’s never been one to set up shop at one club for too long.
Which is why the noise surrounding a move south of the Scottish border is only going to ramp up the longer he stays at Celtic and the more trophies he wins.
If anything, it’s already started.
‘ONLY A MATTER OF TIME’ BEFORE PL SWITCH?
Scottish football fans know it’s very much a case of death, taxes and a successful Celtic or Rangers manager being linked with a Premier League move.
Brendan Rodgers and Steven Gerrard were the most recent managers of the famous rivals to make the switch down south to significantly varying degrees of success.
Rodgers joined Leicester City midway through the 2018/19 season from Celtic, a decision that left a bitter taste in the mouths of many Hoops fans.
The Northern Irishman went on to lead Leicester to consecutive fifth-place finishes from 2020 to 2022 while also winning the 2020/21 FA Cup, the first time the Foxes had won the prestigious trophy.
However, Rodgers’ Midas touch eventually ran out this season and was sacked by Leicester with the club hurtling towards the Championship.
As for Gerrard, he moved to Aston Villa in November 2021 to replace Dean Smith.
Despite four wins from his opening six games and ensuring the club’s safety, the wheels quickly fell off the Gerrard wagon and he was sacked less than a year into the role.
Perhaps both are a cautionary tale for Postecoglou, although the success of Rodgers should not be seen as a deterrent.
However, Carton’s bold claim on Postecoglou’s ability compared to Rodgers and Gerrard bodes well for any such Premier League switch.
“I’d say for me, Ange is probably a better manager than those two,” Carton said.
“He’s doing possibly even more amazing things than those two. I know Rodgers won back-to-back trebles, but the competition now is much better.”
After his successful first season at the helm Postecoglou has gone from strength-to-strength in Glasgow and eviscerated the early scepticism that surrounded his appointment.
It’s why there has been links aplenty for Postecoglou and various Premier League vacancies.
The likes of Brighton, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leeds United and Everton to name a few were all credited with some form of interest in the Celtic boss.
Carton notes it’s “become a bit of a laughing matter among the Celtic support” at just how frequently Postecoglou’s name pops up whenever there’s a new role to fill.
But the intrigue surrounding Postecoglou’s future stepped up a notch when he went from being linked to mid-table clubs to the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.
Granted, it’s likely the London heavyweights go down a different route when it comes to their new man in their respective dugouts.
But the shift in calibre of teams Postecoglou was linked with reiterates a claim former Manchester City star Micah Richards made in his column for the Daily Mail.
“It was interesting to see Ange Postecoglou linked with the Chelsea job,” Richards wrote.
“I spoke to Joe Hart shortly after he joined Celtic in August 2021 and he raved about his new manager, particularly about his character and outlook on life.
“He plays brave football and Joe said nothing flusters him. It is only a matter of time before a club here takes a plunge on him.”
There’s also the school of thought, fair or unfair, that there is a ceiling on what Postecoglou can do in Scotland.
With Celtic, Postecoglou is expected to hoover up trophies given the gap in quality between the Hoops and the rest of the Scottish top flight with the exception of Rangers.
But in the Premier League, the most watched football league in the world, it’s an entirely different ball game, a point football writer John Duerden made in a column for The Guardian.
“Postecoglou is a man who does things his own way but not even the 2015 Asian coach of the year can change how modern European football works,” Duerden wrote.
“There is a limit to what anyone can do in Scotland, even at a huge club like Celtic and even with top-class recruitment.
“If the ambition is to work at the highest level of world football, the Premier League offers the best opportunity with cashed-up clubs, elite fellow coaches and worldwide attention.”
Leicester fall back into relegation zone | 01:01
Although the bright lights of the Premier League are extremely enticing, it is one of, if not the most, cutthroat leagues in the world.
This season, 15 managers have come and gone in a bloodbath the likes of which we have never seen.
It highlights the ruthlessness in which owners are willing to dispose of managers in the pursuit of the big dollar signs the Premier League brings.
Slater believes the trigger-happy nature of Premier League owners will have Postecoglou wary of taking any job down south.
“What we’ve talked about in the unstable environment of the Premier League where basically it looks like if you take over and you don’t hit the ground running, you get sacked,” Slater said.
“That’s where Ange could (be concerned). If he does turn around and goes to, say, Chelsea, he knows that you’ve got to hit the ground running. You don’t get time. That’s not a question, just a fact.
“Can he deal with that? He did at Celtic. He had to hit the ground running. The first few weeks they were talking: ‘he’s not the right [man].’ Then he turned it around very quickly and obviously won the title and everything was sweet.”
Yet the flipside of the remarkable managerial turnover is that there’s likely to be more Premier League openings than ever before.
Going into next season, Crystal Palace, Leeds, Tottenham, Chelsea and Leicester City will all need new managers.
Granted, one of Leicester or Leeds are a high chance of dropping down to the Championship, something Postecoglou seems unlikely to do at this stage of his managerial career.
Chelsea also seem destined to appoint former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino which takes them off the table.
But it still leaves a number of Premier League teams needing a fresh face in the dugout and some clubs not listed earlier may swing the axe at the end of the season.
The sheer amount of vacancies in the English top flight is something we’ve never seen and it may not come around again.
It presents a big dilemma for Postecoglou: could he choose to cash in on his stocks when they’re sky high, or does he roll the dice on a third season with Celtic and maintain his trajectory?
If, and it’s a big if, results begin to slip away a little, the naysayers will immediately latch on.
It will also only drive up the argument that Postecoglou may not be able to cut it in the Premier League if he can’t keep the momentum up for three seasons in Scotland where it is essentially a two-horse race.
Additionally, Postecoglou doesn’t have the immediate backing of media pundits in England who will happily namedrop former players as suitable candidates for managerial openings.
No matter how often they may have failed in previous roles, certain individuals (ahem, Frank Lampard) continue getting jobs in high positions.
Postecoglou almost certainly wouldn’t receive the same treatment by those pundits, especially if things turn a little sour up north.
Where will Ange end up next season? | 00:56
ANGE IS ‘THE KING’ OF GLASGOW … LONG MAY HE REIGN?
Despite being hailed as somewhat of a deity in the green and white half of Glasgow, The Guardian’s Ewan Murray knows there is a ceiling as to what Postecoglou can achieve with the club.
“There should, however, be no harm in speculating on or, in Celtic’s case, planning for the inevitable,” The Guardian’s Ewan Murray wrote.
“This is a consequence of success. Clubs who need a manager to reboot attitudes, a playing squad, tactics and a transfer vision will note Postecoglou’s body of work.
“Celtic should not be the end game for players or managers who aspire to be the best.”
What’s most clear when assessing the views of pundits everywhere is Postecoglou will eventually move on.
Modern football dictates as such.
Rarely do managers stay in one place for very long anymore, with Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp at Manchester City and Liverpool respectively the notable exceptions to the rule.
It remains to be seen whether Postecoglou would leave on his own terms or if he will be nudged aside, but all signs point to the former given his tight-knit connection with the fanbase.
Of course, the most critical element of this discussion, which has been largely ignored by all parties concerned, is that a club must make a concrete offer to Postecoglou.
At this stage, it is all paper talk and betting markets sending the rumour mill into overdrive.
And for all the glitz and glamour on offer in the Premier League, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
Just ask Steven Gerrard.
Everton thrash Brighton in important win | 01:16
It’s why Slater believes the level-headed Postecoglou won’t even cast so much as a sideways glance at the Premier League.
“I’ve got a feeling he might stay at Celtic,” Slater said.
“He’s the king. They love him. And he’s got another crack at the Champions League.
“I think that’s the thing that grabs him. If you go to Chelsea he’s got no European football. If you go to the (other mid-table) teams we’re talking about there’s no European football. Even Spurs doesn’t look like (playing) European football. Do you give away the Champions League?
“If there’s a safe seat in football in the world, Ange is in one of them.”
Safe seats in football are extremely difficult to come by, as are constant opportunities to qualify for the Champions League.
And Carton, much like large portions of the adoring Celtic fanbase, cannot see why Postecoglou would give that up so soon into his Glasgow adventure.
“He’s waited so long for this kind of gig, the fans adore him,” Carton said.
“Wherever he goes for the rest of his career, he’ll never find another club where he’s loved as much as this, I’m confident in saying that.
“He’s got a group of players who are doing amazing and have so much more potential.
“It’s not as if he’s only got five to 10 years left in management, he could have another 20 years so he’s got plenty of time to enjoy and achieve at Celtic and then eventually move on.
“I genuinely think he realises that too.”
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