'That might be all he wants': Reason why Ange Postecoglou won't jump Celtic ship at first opportunity

The carrot of automatic entry into the Champions League is likely to be dangled for Scotland’s champions over the coming seasons.

Scottish football legend Kenny Dalglish maintains Ange Postecoglou could be with Celtic for the long haul as he promotes the Scottish Cup semi-final between the Australian's champions elect and Rangers this Sunday. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Scottish football legend Kenny Dalglish maintains Ange Postecoglou could be with Celtic for the long haul as he promotes the Scottish Cup semi-final between the Australian's champions elect and Rangers this Sunday. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

And Kenny Dalglish considers that could profoundly alter the top-flight terrain in this country, and prove a game-changer for the longevity of Ange Postecoglou’s tenure at Celtic. The footballing great is mildly amused the chat around the Australian has flipped entirely over the course of his 10 months in post. Initially it centred on suitability for the role. Now, following the 56-year-old’s transformation of Celtic’s squad and on-field fortunes that sees them homing in on the championship, the potential for Postecoglou being enticed by an English Premier League club before long has become a talking point. The previous two winners of the Scottish top flight – Steven Gerrard and Brendan Rodgers – left their positions in Glasgow while their teams were champions.

However, neither had the luxury of these successes banking Champions League group stages for them. Not since 2010-11 has that been the prize for the top flight victors in this country. Assuming this year’s Champions League winners qualify for the tournament through their domestic league – and of the eight current quarter-finalists, only Villarreal and Benfica do not – that will change for the 2022-23 campaign. Next season’s cinch Premiership winners will definitely go straight into the group phase of the blue riband tournament come 2023-24, and the prospect of regularly mixing it with the elite has Dalglish believing Postecoglou’s head will not be turned easily.

Sign up to our Football newsletter

“It’s not a given, but Celtic are obviously favourites to win the league,” said the Liverpool icon, with six points separating Glasgow’s big two with only five games remaining. “They’re [all but guaranteed to go] straight into the Champions League section. Where is he [Postecoglou] going to go and get a job that will give him that? There are no jobs. They keep saying about respect for Scottish football. You can’t ask for respect and at the same time expect somebody that does well with Rangers or Celtic to move on if it’s not somewhere that’s going to be better or more satisfying. He might get all he wants here. That might be all he wants.”

Dalglish disputes the notion that Gerrard and Rodgers left the first chance they were given to pursue their careers with mid-ranking clubs in England’s globally-exalted upper tier. The former England captain was three-and-a-half years with Rangers before Aston Villa made an offer he couldn’t refuse last November, while Leicester City spirited away Rodgers before he completed a third season at Celtic just over three years ago. “I will tell you it wasn’t the first option either of them got,” Dalglish said. “They had been rattled before. But they moved on. The English Premier League is an attraction for managers in Scotland. But it’s less attractive if you’ve got a team in Scotland that is getting straight into the Champions League section. Everybody is different, but it is an attraction for your team to be playing in the Champions League. All right, you will get a couple of bruisers because you are going to be in the fourth pot. But you are still playing in it. Finances to get players in, managers are looking for help with that. That helps them.”

“Kenny Dalglish was promoting exclusively live Premier Sports coverage of Celtic v Rangers this Sunday from 1pm Premier Sports is available on Sky, Virgin TV and the Premier Player from £9.99 per month, and on Amazon Prime as an add-on subscription.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers. If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.