Ange Postecoglou, by his own words, worked closely with Mark Lawwell during his time at City Football Group’s Yokohama F. Marinos and had a big influence in the appointment of our new Head of First Team Scouting and Recruitment.
The tie goes deeper, though. It was Mark Lawwell, who a year ago, told his closest contact at Celtic about an Australian he knew that was working in Japan and who would be a far better appointment than Eddie Howe.
The then incoming chief exec was understandably cautious about taking this recommendation, preferring to wait for Howe, a known entity. When that line of pursuit was no longer open, the club took Mark Lawwell’s recommendation. It was a radical decision and a huge risk, made at a time when two chief execs were in the building, with differing views.
The relationship between manager, head of scouting and chief exec can make or break a club. They flourish whenever all three are working in sync. On that basis, I’m encouraged by where we are ahead of the summer transfer window.
Uefa’s news yesterday, that Russian clubs will not participate in European football next season, confirmed that the cinch Scottish Premiership champions will gain automatic entry to the Champions League group stage. We will talk more about what this means financially to the club at the appropriate time. What you can be sure of is that a budget spreadsheet at Celtic Park has been updated, the recruitment team has been assembled and there is a clear sense of ambition at the club.
If Mark Lawwell’s player recommendations are half as good as his managerial suggestion, we can look forward to an interesting season.