In one way, the timing of Tottenham Hotspur’s intensely reported interest in Ange Postecoglou can be viewed positively, with the summer break just around the corner ensuring that there can be no case of mid-season momentum being derailed by any sudden change in Celtic’s dugout.
From another perspective, however, the timing is a nightmare.
All the focus and excitement that usually grips the Celtic support in the build-up to a cup final has been poisoned by extremely unwelcome, and seemingly omnipresent, speculation.
Ange’s pre-final media conference descended into a tennis match on Thursday, as the Hoops boss’ insistence that Saturday’s match is the only matter currently of importance fell repeatedly on deaf ears.
But whether he is deflecting the conversation in an attempt to distract from his inevitable departure or simply paying the upcoming final the respect he feels it deserves, perhaps his point is an important one regardless.
EMBRACE THE MOMENT
Managers come and go, and speculation is a constant. But occasions like Saturday are not.
Celtic’s rapid re-energising over the last two years has been truly remarkable, and a potential treble would be a special victory lap for the club’s refreshed group of players.
It would also be a world record eighth domestic clean-sweep – a feat completely unthinkable merely a decade ago, when the Celts had achieved it on only three occasions in the club’s 125-year history.
Celtic would also move within two trophies of becoming “the most successful club in Scotland”, as well as Europe, putting the extent of the club’s recent dominance into even more mind-blowing context.
For all of that to become overshadowed would be a real travesty.
It has been the longest of seasons, filled with heroic moments and memorable triumphs, and Ange’s players have given it everything.
HAMPDEN IN THE SUN
Hampden Park will be almost entirely green and white in the spotless Saturday night sun, as Championship opposition stands between Celtic and their fifth treble in seven years.
It promises to be a magical day.
For the players, putting the Premiership trophy’s destination beyond doubt at Tynecastle will feel like the distant past, but last weekend’s dominant trophy-day display was a timely reminder of why more silverware is on the horizon.
The return of Alistair Johnston is massively encouraging too, with the Canadian’s form since his January arrival a big highlight of the second half of the Bhoys’ glistening campaign.
For top scorer and Player of the Year winner Kyogo, however, there may not be a chance to cap off a sensational season at Hampden due to the minor injury he picked up last week – but the exceptional striker has certainly taught us to never say never in the past.
And if it is farewell for Ange, it may be a much earlier one than any of us would have hoped for, but what a perfectly fitting way to bow out – and what a two years it would have to go down as.
For now, let’s enjoy the fabulous squad and outstanding manager that we still have – and enjoy what should be a well-deserved final celebration for them all on Saturday.
Our Scottish Cup Final Special will be available on Friday evening at The Celtic Exchange Plus, but if you aren’t already a subscriber don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.
Our free 7 Day Trial will allow you to enjoy this episode, as well as Sunday’s post-match reaction podcast completely free as Ange and the Bhoys look to sign off the season in style.
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