Ange Postecoglou and his Celtic knack to dismiss the unhelpful proves he’s got our game worked out – Hugh Keevins – Hugh Keevins


Talking a good game is a form of insult within Scottish football.

It’s a barb aimed at those who are unable to translate what they say in public into anything profitable on the park.

You’ll know who you are.

Ange Postecoglou doesn’t fall into that category.

I’m not talking about his default setting, the bit about “I’m not a doctor/accountant/psychologist, mate”.

Those are statements of fact the Celtic manager uses to illustrate, in an Aussie bloke’s kind of way, lines of demarcation he doesn’t feel the need to cross.

I’m talking about the things he says to focus minds on the game and dismiss all of the unsubstantiated, unhelpful and occasionally unhinged stuff that’s thrown his way.

Biased referees and teams who try harder against one half of the Old Firm than they do the other one being current favourites.

I’m not a psychologist, either, mate – but I get the impression of someone who’s lived in Scotland for less than a year already knows us better than we know ourselves.

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Now he’s started to offer the plain-speaking man’s guide to avoiding unwarranted distractions.

The name of the league leader is written in chalk on the board with 12 games to go in the Premiership.

The engraver doesn’t know for sure yet which one to carve on the trophy’s plinth for posterity.

That’s why Ange said just last weekend: “Our course will be chartered by what we do.”

In other words, he knows he has the players capable of doing the job eventually but consistency is everything.

That they’re 20 games unbeaten, the last seven without dropping a point, would vouch for that not being a problem for Celtic. For now. But the day before the win over Aberdeen he said: “I get wary when people talk about momentum, as if that means you get on a surfboard and a wave takes you along.”

Momentum, to his way of thinking, is created – or destroyed – by what his team, and their closest rivals, do for themselves.

Others fixate on referees.

Kevin Clancy didn’t make the cut for the midweek round of Premiership matches, fueling the suspicion he had been stood down following his cardathon at Livingston last weekend.

Just the eight bookings and one ordering off for the home team, with four yellows for Aberdeen.

Clancy has already faced a written complaint from Rangers, who accused him of eight mistakes during last month’s draw with Aberdeen.

He’s obviously the poster boy for the protesters who plead a total breakdown in communication with match officials.

Except they can’t agree whether or not an SFA-proposed summit of match and club officials is a good idea.

Livi’s David Martindale favors talks. Motherwell’s Graham Alexander says it would be a waste of time. I wouldn’t bother asking
self-sufficient Ange.

He had a phrase the other day that summarized his thoughts on how bad you can ready yourself for good.

“It’s not about the punches you throw,” he said. “It’s about the punches you take.”

Reo Hatate scores against Rangers

I wouldn’t expect Celtic to be on the ropes today against Raith Rovers in the Scottish Cup but Postecoglou’s homespun philosophy could help visiting manager John McGlynn.

He’s trapped in a public relations nightmare for which he and the people around him are clearly ill-equipped to handle following the catastrophe that was the signing of David Goodwillie.

I suspect the biggest positive of the day for McGlynn would come from asking his opposite number a simple question, like “What would you do if you were in my shoes?”

The likelihood is he would get better advice than anything he’s received up until now.

Postecoglou’s ability to cut through nonsense and concentrate his mind might be as handy for McGlynn as it is turning out to be for Celtic.

They might be taking Neighbors off the telly but Ange gives you the strewth, the whole strewth and nothing but the strewth.




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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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