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Following talk of Ange Postecoglou's potential exit to Spurs, TCW's Ryan McGinlay explains why the Celtic board must be trusted to find an ideal replacement.

The rumours surrounding Ange Postecoglou’s departure from Celtic do not seem to be going away anytime soon. If anything, the noise seems to be increasing in decibel level.

He has been a revelation since joining the club in June 2021, following the failed pursuit of Eddie Howe as Neil Lennon’s successor. Ever since his arrival, Postecoglou has revolutionised things on and off the pitch, installing a relentless winning mentality and an almost impenetrable drive for success.

This kind of philosophy and style was summed up by the man himself, exclaiming to the players that “We Never Stop” during a ‘Mic’d Up’ training session shared on social media shortly after his arrival. Indeed, they did not, as Celtic reclaimed their Scottish Premiership title at the first time of asking after losing it the previous season, as well as picking up the League Cup against Hibernian.

This season has been even better, thanks to further improvements across the board. In this current campaign, Celtic made their return to the Champions League for the first time in five years while retaining the Scottish Premiership and League Cup. They also have the chance to complete an unprecedented eighth domestic treble on Saturday June 3 against Inverness Caledonian Thistle, with the potential for Postecoglou to break a world record in the process.

The team’s attacking style and insistence on playing football in a positive way has aesthetically pleasing on the pitch.

With all this success in a short period of time, it was not going to be long before Postecoglou started attracting suitors, especially from clubs down south. The latest of these, after suggestions about Chelsea and Brighton, comes in the form of Tottenham Hotspur. The North London club are still looking for Antonio Conte’s replacement as head coach after his dismissal over two months ago. Finishing eighth in the English Premier League, they missed out on Europe altogether and are looking to regroup ahead of the new season.

If and when teams such as Spurs come calling for Postecoglou, then it seems realistic to assume that the manager will make the inevitable transition down south. A vacancy being filled in North London means another is open in Glasgow, however, and Celtic will need to act fast to fill this position ahead of the forthcoming campaign.

READ MORE: Spurs masquerade as a big club, Celtic are the real deal

As always, there will be a degree of pessimism when replacing the manager who has brought so much success to the club in his short spell in charge. However, the board perhaps should be afforded some trust from those doubting their credentials, especially when you look at the previous candidates identified.

The most notable example is the aforementioned Howe, the current Newcastle United manager, who was heavily linked with the job back in 2021. The club identified him as their main target following the resignation of Lennon in the disastrous 2020-2021 season, but the former Bournemouth manager eventually declined to sign on the dotted line after a lengthy negotiation process.

In hindsight, Celtic’s board clearly identified two very competent managers in Howe and Postecoglou. Bankrolled by the Saudi-based owners of Newcastle, Howe has done a stellar job in charge of the Premier League side, leading them to 11th and fourth-placed finishes, respectively, over his time in charge. He has guided the side to their first Champions League appearance since 2003, playing an attractive and effective brand of football at St James’ Park.

These credentials ensure that the Hoops would have had a capable and notable manager at the helm no matter which of the key candidates accepted the job. Surely the Celtic board have to be afforded this trust if potentially put in a position to recruit again?

The club are in a different place from where they were just two years ago. Long-standing chief executive Peter Lawwell had left his post (though he returned as chairman at the start of the year) to be replaced by Dominic McKay, who lasted mere months before being replaced by Michael Nicholson. The club was in a period of change, with star players such as Odsonne Edouard, Kristoffer Ajer and Ryan Christie all in the process of moving on.

The current situation at Celtic is a much brighter one than back then, though. The club is in a healthier place financially due to the fans’ return to the stadium after the coronavirus pandemic, coupled with the side’s direct return to the Champions League group stages. Celtic also have fresh assets in the shape of Jota, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Reo Hatate on the pitch, who all will deliver a healthy profit when they eventually move on.

READ MORE: Celtic's Hyeon-gyu Oh is the perfect replacement for Kyogo

The board of directors, if called into action, will have to replace Postecoglou with someone who possesses the same mentality as the incumbent Celtic manager. This current squad have conquered all who have come before them domestically, so the hunger and passion that Postecoglou installs into the players must be matched by whoever is appointed.

Mark Lawwell, Celtic’s Head of First Team Scouting and Recruitment, has links with the City Group, having worked in a similar capacity at the conglomerate with member teams such as Manchester City, Girona and Melbourne City. This may be an area that the board look to shop in and exploit, especially in terms of managers that share the same philosophies and playing style as Postecoglou.

Losing the 57-year-old would undoubtedly be disappointing but not that surprising given the sterling work he's done. The Celtic board will have prepared for this situation, knowing they had a gem on their hands and that suitors would emerge at some point. 

Given the impressive nature of their last shortlist, perhaps it is time to trust their ability in attracting a suitable successor, whoever and whenever that may be.

This piece is an extract from the latest Celtic Digest newsletter, which is emailed out every weekday evening with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from The Celtic Way team.

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