CHRIS SUTTON has admitted he feels sorry for Ange Postecoglou – even before he walks in the front door at Celtic.
The Athens-born former Australian international manager is on the brink of being named as Neil Lennon’s successor with the club still awaiting to rubberstamp the appointment 101 days since the Irishman’s departure.
The guessing game had been in full swing even before the position officially became vacant, seen as an inevitability in the midst of a miserable campaign that hardly got off the ground.
Former Hoops goal hero Sutton said: “Ange Postecoglou has a big personality, is not afraid of conflict and has had some success in non-traditional footballing areas.
“But it would be extremely harsh to completely dismiss him before he even gets in the door. I actually feel sorry for the guy. He’s walking in to a Mission Impossible job right now.
“If Postecoglou isn’t in Glasgow by early next week then quarantine rules mean he will be unlikely to be at Lennoxtown for the first day of pre-season.
“That’s not going to be a great look for the players who will still be on the books when they report back for duty.
“Even they will be wondering how the heck did Celtic get to his point. They’ll be asking each other, what on earth is going on?”
Sutton, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “The botched bid to land Eddie Howe has set the club back months.
“It’s hard to fathom how they could have allowed the former Bournemouth manager the wriggle room to back out of the gentleman’s agreement over some half-hearted nonsense about his backroom team.
“Howe has taken the club for a ride and doesn’t come out of this well.
“But Celtic should never have allowed it to get to this stage. The contingency plan had to be in place, but apparently this is it and we’re another week down the line and we’re still waiting.
DINGWALL, FEBRUARY 21…Neil lennon walks off the pitch for the last time as Celtic manager following 1-0 loss to Ross County.
“There’s so much to sort out behind the scenes and giving Howe a blank canvas defies belief. There’s been talk about a new director of football at Celtic since the start of last season when Neil Lennon was still in charge.
“There’s still no sign – and it’s the same for the head of recruitment role that’s yet to be filled since Nick Hammond left.
“Now Howe is out and the director of football role is up in the air again.”
One-time England international striker Sutton, now a top media pundit, added: “It’s a sorry state of affairs and Postecoglou is the one who’s going to have to pick up the pieces.
“He’s on to a hiding to nothing. At the moment, there are players who are heading out of the door and no idea of who is coming in. There are huge questions to be asked about Postecoglou’s own backroom team.
“Will he bring in his own or will there still be roles for John Kennedy and Gavin Strachan?
“That’ll be a hard one to sell to fans who already need to be won over by the new boss. Postecoglou might be a top operator, but he’ll have his hands tied behind his back.
“You have to give him a chance, though. By all accounts he’s highly rated in Australia and Japan. He gets his sides to play intense, high-pressing football and he likes to light a fire under his dressing rooms.
“That is all very well and good, but all managers say that kind of stuff. The proof will be in the pudding. The reality is Celtic are taking a colossal gamble at a time when they can’t afford to be taking risks.”