ONLY three days ago, Ange Postecoglou was telling Celtic fans “we can achieve great things together” as he put his name to an official club statement looking ahead to the 2023/24 crusade.

It was a rousing, tub-thumping formation of words ahead of season ticket sales, as CQN reported in full at the time.

A couple of mornings later, I picked up my daily newspapers – yes, I am aware I am a rarity in this day and age and I actually still buy journals – and I read that Celtic were bracing themselves for the departure of their manager.

FANFARE…a beaming Ange Postecoglou enjoys the League Cup Final success at Hampden in February.

Chairman Peter Lawwell and chief executive Michael Nicholson may already be compiling names of possible successors, the article stated. Nothing new there. It is smart business acumen to be prepared for every contingency.

Later in the day, I saw an online ‘revelation’ informing everyone there is a fear among the Hoops hierarchy that the manager has already decided his future lies in England.

I believe Ange Postecoglou may find that so-called disclosure as an insult to his integrity.

In his 25 years or so in football management, he has displayed principles, a praiseworthy virtue which, as far as I am aware, has never been questioned during his title-winning spells in Australia and Japan before arriving on these shores to carry on his phenomenal club career.

His move to Celtic in June 2021 was done above board without the hint of subterfuge or clandestine meetings. His J-League employers were kept informed every step of the way and, once personal details had been agreed, compensation was paid to Yokohama F Marinos for their head coach.

Now we are informed Postecoglou may have had a somersault in morality and is ignoring the immediacy of events concerning the club who currently pay his wages to focus elsewhere.

PARADISE…Ange Postecoglou has the full backing of the Celtic support.

That doesn’t sound like the Ange Postecoglou who can often answer an ill-judged query with the putdown line of: “I’m not wired like that, mate.”

Last month, the manager informed the club’s supporters that “plans were in place” as he looked to strengthen the squad for the new season, as CQN reported.

After the League Cup Final success over Michael Beale’s Ibrox outfit in February, he went on record as saying: “For me, what it’s about is just trying to leave a mark wherever I am. I have done that with every football club I have been at. I want to do that at this football club and that is all that consumes me.

“I don’t think about the next step or I need to go somewhere else or I need to do this or I need to consider other things.

“You don’t go through life oblivious to it. It is not healthy to put the blinkers up and not know what is going on because that tests your desire to keep doing what you’re doing.

“If people are talking about my future or are interested in my future I will sit there and listen.

“But it doesn’t mean I am going to jump at anything that comes my way. I am really passionate about what I do and the people close to me know what is most important to me, what drives me and what keeps me sort of happy in my role. I couldn’t be happier.”

Tellingly, he added: “I am still here even though people have been getting me out the door. I am hoping that over the course of time as long as I’m here, and I think you will be surprised how long I am here, I am just consumed by what I do.

“That is to try to make this football club the best it can be and enjoy every minute of it.”

Every step of the way, Postecoglou has come across as a man of his word, a person of good character and veracity. If all this is an act, then I can only say Hollywood is missing out on an A-lister.

Look, any possessor of a scintilla of grey matter will acknowledge that he will leave someday. If he continues his extraordinary success rate, those achievements cannot be ignored by CEOs across the border.

Postecoglou will be 58 on his next birthday and has a young family to consider. The hard fact of life is that our English brothers can afford to pay riches outwith Celtic’s financial muscle.

HAMPDEN LAUGH-IN…Ange Postecoglou in high spirits with Peter Lawwell, Michael Nicholson and Chris McKay as they watch the Celtic kids win the Youth Cup during the week. 

If Billy McNeill can leave Celtic for a managerial position in England – Manchester City in the legendary Celt’s case – then anyone can.

There were reasons behind that seismic shift for McNeill and his family, but that’s a story for another day. Suffice to say there was intolerable friction between the iconic Lisbon Lion and the old board. That certainly does not appear to be the case with Postecoglou and the men presently running the club.

For the time being, we can only hope the rumour factory takes some time off during the summer to allow Postecoglou to get on with his current job and piece together a pool of players he can trust to show their capabilities and qualities at the elite level of the Champions League.

After that, who knows?

One thing is certain; Ange Postecoglou will not sneak out the back door. He will go with the cheers of grateful supporters ringing in his ears with his honour intact.

Let’s hope that send-off won’t manifest itself any time soon.

There is still business to be taken care of at Celtic, starting this afternoon at Tynecastle with Postecoglou and Celtic’s second successive title in focus.

Enjoy the occasion, folks.

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