Scottish Cup Final
Future of treble-winning Celtic boss unclear
Speculation: Ange Postecoglou
Celtic 3 Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1
Ange Postecoglou wrote himself into Celtic history books with a Scottish Cup victory over Inverness Caledonian Thistle that created more uncertainty than a promise of better things to come.
In the run-up to the Hampden showpiece, speculation had been building that the Australian-Greek is the No. 1 target for managerless Tottenham Hotspur, with talks reported to be arranged for the coming days.
Given the chance to put the rumours to bed after the cup win, Postecoglou, who became the fifth Celtic boss to complete the clean sweep of domestic honours, remained tight-lipped on his future.
“I anticipate enjoying this moment for the next 24, 48 hours, as long as I can before somebody drags me away and takes my attention away from enjoying something that has been hard-earned,” said the Celtic manager, who is on a rolling 12-month contract.
“The reality of it is there’s probably players in that dressing room who won’t be here next year. That’s the nature of football. But I want them to enjoy it, I’m going to enjoy it and that’s all I’m going to focus on until somebody grabs me by the collar and tells me that I have to answer certain questions.
“Whatever other people want to focus on and talk about, I am not going to miss enjoying this moment with this group of people. But also I owe it to my family, my friends, those people closest to me. Everyone works hard and makes sacrifices to enjoy these moments.
“I understand that other people who aren’t invested in it want to ask these questions, but for me right now the most important thing is that we reflect and just be in the moment of crowning something special.
“They deserve to enjoy this moment because, irrespective of what happens in the future, why would they not want to enjoy this moment for what it is? It is something historic.”
The 3-1 triumph at a sun-blessed Hampden Park saw the 57-year-old complete the treble, a world record eighth such achievement for the club, and the fifth in just seven years.
While it would have been a sensation if Inverness had triumphed in this rare June final, they were not overwhelmed and kept the favourites at bay for the first half hour. Goals from Kyogo Furuhashi, Liell Abada and Jota settled any nerves in the Celtic camp and sealed the head coach’s status.
Should Postecoglou find the lure of the English Premier League too strong to ignore, there are concerns he may also take some of Celtics’s stars with him, notably Furuhashi, thus denting prospects for what fans were hoping would be a stronger campaign in Europe.
High-profile names are already being linked as a replacement. West Ham boss David Moyes is thought to be among the contenders, while former Celtic skipper Scott Brown and ex-manager Brendan Rodgers have also emerged as surprise candidates.
Celtic’s victory means Aberdeen secure a Europa League play-off slot, and so were guaranteed at least the safety net of a Conference League group stage campaign and £5 million in revenue.
Hibs also get a European place for finishing fifth. Caley Thistle earned £1 million that may give Billy Dodds scope to build his squad for next season.
Celtic: Furuhashi (38′), Abada (65′), Jota (90’+1′)
Inverness CT: Daniel MacKay (84′)