By universal consent, Celtic appointed the best possible manager when Ange Postecoglou took over last summer. Views at the time varied significantly. Practically none of us had heard of him, some immediately took the view that he was some cheap fodder (reflecting their general world view), the best the rest of us could hope for is that he had talents we were unaware of. The Aussies know, though.
Getting a managerial appointment right is notoriously difficult. Today, Manchester United, the club formerly known as the richest in the world, appointed their fifth permanent manager since Alex Ferguson left nine years ago. Two of the most successful names in the game, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho came and went without issue. Davie Moyes, who continues to impress at West Ham, was laughed out of town within a year.
For three years until November, they were in the hands of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who achieved merit in three years at Molde, but ready for such a task? Never.
Even when you have every agent on the planet touting their wares, when you can snap your fingers and get anyone’s ear, fitting the right person to the most important job is remarkably difficult.
After five years at Ajax, Erik ten Hag will take over at Old Trafford in June. He enjoyed two exceptional Champions League campaigns, won two titles and leads this season. He also lost home and away to Rosenborg in the Europa League qualifiers after Celtic eliminated Rosenborg from the Champions League.
I put his chances of success in Manchester at no more than 25%. If the fundamentals of a football club are right, it will recover from setbacks, it not, all it can do it apply lipstick to some bacon. For all our season of angst, Celtic’s fundamentals were just fine. The evidence can be found on the pitch and by consulting the league table.