Ange is standing on the shoulders of giants, as he focuses on treble

“Standing on the shoulders of Giants”. To some, it’s simply the name of the album released by Oasis in 2000 that, ironically, failed to match the success of its predecessors. To others, it’s the well-known metaphor defined by The Phrase Finder as “using the understanding gained by major thinkers who have gone before in order to make intellectual progress”.

Perhaps then, it was the perfect phrase around which to centre today’s trophy celebrations at Celtic Park. I was fortunate enough to be in attendance and witness the magnificent tifo that adorned all four sides of Paradise. On one side, an image of our greatest ever manager, Jock Stein. On the other, our longest serving manager, Willie Maley. It’s on the shoulders of these giants that Ange Postecoglou stood at kick-off, ready to deliver his second league title as Celtic manager.

And deliver he did. Despite some underwhelming performances in recent weeks, Ange and his players put that to one side and gave supporters something to celebrate. Comfortable victories over Aberdeen at Celtic Park are no rarity of late but there was a reassuring swagger about the way the hosts dispatched of their visitors. Two goals apiece from Kyogo and Oh, as well as a rare contribution to the scoresheet from centre-back Carl Starfelt, ensured Celtic supporters would spend their Saturday evening satisfied, if a little too well lubricated.





Being at the match today was, for me at least, a time for reflection as much as celebration. Like every end of season, I found myself looking back over what had occurred in these past 10 months. In some ways, it seems so long since those early matches back in August. In others, it flashed by in the blink of an eye. This was epitomised by the answer Matt O’Riley gave when asked at the post-match fans’ press conference which opponent he was most impressed by this season. Mykhailo Mudryk was his choice. A surprising one when you consider the struggles the Ukranian and his Chelsea side have faced this season. But of course, Matt was referencing the young Mudryk who burst onto the scene in the second half of 2022, terrorising defences in the Champions League as part of a Shakhtar side who held Celtic to two 1-1 draws in the group stage and reached the last 16 of the Europa League. A season is, indeed, a long time in football.

It may have been long but, for us as Celtic fans, it was an enjoyable one. As well as the domestic successes which, at the time of writing, includes the league and League Cup double, Europe provided some magical moments once again. Jota’s emotional reaction to his free-kick goal against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu may have been a consolation in a 5-1 loss but it’s hard to grudge the young Portuguese winger a moment of selfish delight. Despite finishing bottom of the group with 2 points, there were enough glimpses of brilliance from Ange’s men to suggest progression in Europe isn’t the pipe dream it may have been a couple of years ago.

That is, of course, if we can do what we have so often failed to previously – build from a position of strength. We undoubtedly have reams of talent in the first 16 players but beyond that, there is a lot of fat needing trimmed. Fringe players need offloaded and replaced with quality that will either improve the general level of quality in the squad or, ideally, improve on what is already there.


Our manager is a vital key to that improvement. To anyone who has seen my contributions to ACSOM over the last couple of years, you’ll know I could not love the big Aussie more. Not only is he trying to instil a style of football that I love, he is conducting himself in a manner befitting of the institution of Celtic. He understands what Celtic means to the supporters and, what’s more, he respects that. For want of a better phrase – he gets it.

And yet, I can’t shake the feeling that Ange, the man who brought success and stability back to the club in the aftermath of the pandemic and Dubai-gate, may not be at the club for much longer. Last year, he addressed the Celtic faithful on trophy day with the reassuring message that we should enjoy the summer and look forward to coming back and doing it all again because ‘we never stop’. This year, the speech seemed a little more muted. He acknowledged the contributions of captain Callum McGregor, the players and the backroom staff. In a touching tribute to the late Tommy Burns, he said Celtic fans “are always there”.

I may be reading too much into it but let’s not forget, this is a man who chooses his words carefully. In referencing Tommy Burns’ famous words, what was Ange saying? Was he saying that we, the fans, are the constant and he, the manager is not? Was he simply making a kind gesture towards the giants on whose shoulders he stands? The ambiguity is what worries me. Ange can be specific and unambiguous when he needs to be and yet, as rumours around a possible move to Tottenham Hotspur continue to swirl, he continues to avoid any confirmation of his summer moves one way or the other.

Whatever happens, one thing is certain: This season, this team and this manager, has provided some of the most magical and memorable moments I have ever had as a Celtic fan. The hope is that we can sign off the season with a treble next week and, in doing so, continue to write history in the pages of books that started as blank pages 135 years ago.


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