Charlie Nicholas really has fallen in love with Ange Postecoglou, hasn’t he? Too often in the past Nicholas has used his media presence to heap negativity on all things Celtic, but after requiring some convincing initially of Ange Postecoglou’s managerial credentials, it’s fair to say Nicholas has become a convert.
And that has shone through in recent times, as the positivity towards his former club greatly outweighs any negativity. Changed days indeed. And while Nicholas has been lauding the work the Celtic boss has been doing on the pitch, the way the manager represents Celtic off the pitch has also been noted and meets with the approval of Nicholas.
Writing in his Scottish Daily Express column, Nicholas goes as far as to liken Postecoglou’s persona to the like of Tommy Burns and Jock Stein in the respectful way they approached the opposition, in this case van Bronckhorst prior to, during and after last weekend’s Glasgow Derby.
Yet a dig at Celtic past couldn’t be resisted as he somewhat unfairly criticised Neil Lennon when comparing Postecoglou’s approach to that of the former Celtic manager.
“What I did appreciate at the end of the Celtic v (the)Rangers match was two coaches who showed each other great respect by shaking hands and embracing on the pitch. “
“Ange Postecoglou looked like a proper Celtic manager, it was like a Jock Stein or Tommy Burns scenario. Giovanni van Bronckhorst also deserves enormous credit. Even their comments after the game, especially Ange’s, were great.
“There was none of that stuff of old with Neil Lennon’s smugness or anger.
“I loved the humility, representing clubs who are wholehearted all in.”
There is no doubt Postecoglou and van Bronckhorst appear, at this stage of proceedings anyway, to have a healthy respect for one another and the Celtic boss was most respectful in his comments surrounding theRangers boss post-match on Sunday. And in truth that’s a sensible and respectful way for any Celtic manager to conduct his business.
Nicholas’ dig however at Neil Lennon seems somewhat harsh. Lennon is very much a different character from Postecoglou and his dealings with the Ibrox club and those connected to it, haven’t been without controversy – to say the least.
As a player Lennon was targeted and as a manager that continued – we don’t need to go into all of that again, we all know what Neil Lennon went through when representing Celtic.
As such if there was any smugness or anger exhibited by Neil Lennon when it came to respect for Rangers or indeed theRangers it is entirely understandable and certainly forgivable, given it came from a road travelled very different from Ange Postecoglou’s.
Indeed, there were times when Neil Lennon’s challenging of the club playing out of Ibrox was just what was required, particularly after succeeding Tony Mowbray where Celtic seemed to have become limp second-class citizens, all to meek in the face of a challenge from Ibrox. It should be remembered at that time that as Lenny brought back the thunder, such an approach was almost universally agreed to have been exactly what was required. It should also be noted there was far less of that approach second time around.
Nicholas however is quite right to point to how Ange Postecoglou projects himself, and praise how he conducts himself whilst representing our football club. Both on and off the pitch Celtic have themselves a superb ambassador and almost all the doubters have been converted over the course of the manager’s maiden season.
And when you get the seal of approval from one of Celtic’s harshest of critics, you know you have few lingering doubting Thomas’s left to convince.