CELTIC will have to be prepared for the day Ange Postecoglou leaves the club.
Former Hoops striker Chris Sutton reckons the 57-year-old Greek-Australian gaffer WILL quit Parkhead at some point.
The one-time England international does not believe Postecoglou will leave the champions in the lurch and the timing and challenge have to be right for the manager who has worked wonders in such a short period in Glasgow.
But Sutton fears such a parting of the ways will be inevitable in the future and his old club will need to react swiftly to replace the phenomenon that has been Neil Lennon’s successor.
HAIL KING ANGE…the advertising hoarding says it all as boss Postecoglou checks out the playing surface at Dingwall before the 3-1 win over Ross County in August.
The 49-year-old media pundit said: “Celtic CEO Michael Nicholson and the hierarchy need to start succession planning right now and keeping tabs on potential new managers because the interest is growing in their Aussie and it is not going away.
“If Postecoglou keeps building up Celtic at his current rate, an offer may easily arrive that the manager feels is hugely tempting. There could be offers this summer.
“It’s obvious Postecoglou likes a challenge, but, for my money, it would need to be something that appeals hugely for him to go at this stage because he looks to be savouring life at Celtic and there appears an attachment with the club.
“I don’t know Postecoglou well. I’ve only met him a couple of times. But listening to him speak and watching how he goes about his business, he seems to really get the club. He doesn’t strike me as the type to disappear at a time that does not suit Celtic.
“There seems to be a substance to him. I don’t hear him speak about Celtic and the fans and his enjoyment of the job and think it’s merely lip service. I think it’s genuine.
“In addition, he looks to have only just started his work. Assessing the way he has recruited and has gone to the J-League to get guys who know his style, that tells me they are on board because he is also on board.
“However, the more he succeeds, the more people are going to look at him. That’s only natural.”
MAN ON A MISSION…Ange Postecoglou remains on track for even more success at Celtic.
Sutton, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “My own feeling is that, unless it were a really top job south of the border that became available, the Aussie would not be interested.
“And, when I think of how the very top clubs in England would go about potentially filling posts in the modern game, I harbour lingering doubts about them looking towards Glasgow.
“Let me make an example. And it is just an example because I don’t want people thinking I’m advocating for or predicting the exit of Jurgen Klopp from Liverpool.
“But, if the German were to leave his post at Anfield tomorrow, I don’t think there are many who wouldn’t think Postecoglou could go into a club of that size and make an impact. He plays their attacking brand of football and has shown in Glasgow he can handle a big environment.
“My biggest question would be over those people filling the vacancy. In this current footballing world, would the owners of a Liverpool look to Scotland for an Australian who is the manager of Celtic?
“Or would they prefer to go down the perceived glamour route? For a Mauricio Pochettino-type, for instance?
“Of course, the majority of the smaller clubs in England’s top-flight would be interested. But would Postecoglou be interested in them? Would he really want to swap Celtic for a Wolves or a Brentford?
“Can’t see it myself. Leeds are big, but not as big as his current club.”
LET ME THINK ABOUT THAT…Ange Postecoglou at a media conference.
Sutton added: “It may depend on timing, what the challenge is. Who is to say what floats Postecoglou’s boat? Right now I sense it’s Celtic.
“Of course, the Champions League may have a massive influence on how Postecoglou may or may not view things in the future. Given the way he goes about his business, he is going to win trophies on a regular basis for Celtic for as long as he’s there.
“However, it’s making a mark in Europe which holds the real appeal. Postecoglou has said himself how much he wants that.
“He’s cited models of clubs from smaller nations making an impact amongst the elite and spoken openly about the transfer model which can help Celtic to make it happen.
“But what if it doesn’t? Brendan Rodgers couldn’t stop winning trophies at Celtic and enjoyed accolades over his team’s group stage efforts in the Champions League when they first got into it.
“However, the next year, with no further progress, the plaudits dried up. The enormity of what it takes to make that impact hit home to him.
“In truth, the domestic stuff seemed to lose its appeal at the same time for Rodgers when there was no progress being made on the continent.
“One thing, though. You could sense the end was coming for Rodgers. Right at his moment, you don’t with Postecoglou.”
And the manager’s immediate thoughts will be guiding the Hoops over the St Mirren hurdle to book a place in the Scottish Cup quarter-final draw on Monday.
It was the one piece of silverware that eluded him during his extraordinary debut campaign at the club.
A June 3 date at Hampden may well have a circle round it in Postecoglou’s calendar.
*DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v St Mirren this evening – only in your champion CQN.