Ange Postecoglou

To borrow a line from one of his Parkhead predecessors, Ange Postecoglou is a long way from reaching his ‘Terminado’ moment as Celtic manager.

That was the word Brendan Rodgers famously used in 2018 when it was clear that the wheels were already in motion for his exit from the club.

This was at a time when Rodgers was reeling over a lack of ambition in the transfer market, the failure to sign John McGinn and being dumped out of the Champions League qualifiers.

He had racked up Treble after Treble, spent just over two-and-a-half years in Glasgow and probably felt like he had taken the club as far as he could.

Rodgers was eventually throwing all sorts of verbal hand grenades into the Parkhead boardroom, which made it clear that he wanted out at the next available opportunity.

Contrast that to Postecoglou, who has just gone toe-to-toe with European champions Real Madrid and watched his team give an excellent account of themselves.

That might sound strange after losing 3-0 — and no one should ever seek to glorify defeat — but anyone who watched that game will know how many problems Celtic caused Madrid.

Listen, there will come a time when Postecoglou will move on. His talents as a manager mean it’s inevitable he will eventually be poached by an English Premier League club.

You would have said the exact same thing about Rodgers. Such was his stature in English football from his time at Liverpool that he was always going to head back down south.

In his eyes, Celtic was only ever a stop-gap. He was passing through, ticking a box on his CV by managing the club he claimed to have supported as a boy.

Likewise Steven Gerrard. When he won the league with Rangers to stop ten-in-a-row, it was only a matter of time before he was offered a job in the English Premier League.

Postecoglou is now being linked with the managerial vacancy at Brighton and Hove Albion. When you’ve been involved in football for so long, there aren’t many things which come as a surprise.

You learn to expect the unexpected. But I would be absolutely astonished if Postecoglou left Celtic to join Brighton. There’s no way I can see it happening.

He’s better than that and is capable of managing at a far higher level than Brighton. I just don’t see it as a job that will get his juices flowing.

He’s currently managing in the Champions League and has just had 60,000 fans chanting his name after a ding-dong battle with Carlo Ancelotti and the latest band of Galacticos.

If he were to move to Brighton, he’d be playing in front of home crowds roughly half that size, with the Amex Stadium housing just over 30,000.

The reality is that Celtic are a far bigger and better club than Brighton. Given what he’s built at Celtic, it would be absolute madness to give it up now.

What does success look like for a club like Brighton?

Mid-table mediocrity in the English Premier League? Maybe a decent cup run?

Realistically, that’s pretty much the limit for them. Graham Potter has massively overachieved with the resources available to him. It’s why he’s now landed the Chelsea job.

At Celtic, there’s no telling how far Postecoglou can take this team. After winning the league in his debut season, he will no doubt be eyeing a domestic Treble this time around.

Europe is the one major box he still has to tick. But the performance against Madrid offered so much belief and positivity in terms of what Celtic can achieve this season.

There’s absolutely no reason why they shouldn’t be looking to get out of this Champions League group and into the knockout stages.

They’ll fancy their chances against RB Leipzig and Shakhtar Donetsk.

Celtic gave Madrid a hell of a fright in the first half last week. They were excellent and could easily have been two or three goals ahead by half-time.

Madrid’s class eventually shone through and, in Luka Modric, they had a man who gave one of the best individual performances I’ve seen from any player at Celtic Park in the Champions League era.

It was no wonder the Celtic fans gave him a standing ovation when he went off at the end.

That was a real touch of class and I saw Modric posting on social media about how much it meant to him.

But Celtic should take so much confidence from their performance. They aren’t going to come up against players anywhere near the level of Modric when they face Shakhtar and Leipzig.

In the space of just over a year, Postecoglou has taken this team from losing to Midtjylland to giving Real Madrid a run for their money.

Not many would have thought that possible.

He’s building something special at Parkhead. Celtic fans absolutely idolise him — and I feel the connection is more genuine than it was with Rodgers.

There’s no denying Rodgers’ abilities as a manager, but he also has a huge ego. I don’t see any of that with Postecoglou.

Right now, he’s reaching for the stars at Celtic and rubbing shoulders with Europe’s elite.

That’s not a relationship that anyone would describe as ‘Terminado’.

Instead, for a manager who is worshipped by supporters, it’s very much ‘Vamos, Bhoys’.


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