It has been almost a week since Ange Postecoglou’s potential move to take charge of Scottish club Celtic was first revealed.
And while it only looks more likely to eventuate, the delay has accounted for a range of reactions that underline the enormity of the task the 55-year-old Melburnian is set to undertake.
According to reports in Scotland, the hold-up in rubber stamping Postecoglou in the Parkhead hot seat is to do with a wait for special dispensation to grant him a European Pro Licence so that he can lead Celtic in its Champions League qualifiers.
The former Socceroos boss does not currently have one and while Celtic is applying for an exemption from FIFA due to his extensive 25 years of experience managing in the world game, it is unclear how long it will take for that to be granted.
It may in fact prove a fatal blow in the move to bring him across from Yokohama F Marinos, who are understood to have handed him a release from his J-League deal to move to Glasgow.
It does seem bizarre that Postecoglou is permitted to try and quell Robin Van Persie and Andres Iniesta in a World Cup but is not allowed to take on Sheriff Tiraspol home and away, but such are the UEFA regulations.
The potential appointment, however, still remains an enormous opportunity for both Australian football — to conquer its final frontier — and for Postecoglou, as he continues his path to reaching the summit of world football management.
But as expected the reaction from Celtic fans in Scotland has been mixed at best.
There are many who continue to apply a naive lens on anything outside of European football and therefore refuse to take notice of Postecoglou’s remarkable J-League title triumph with Yokohama — without even speaking the nation’s native tongue — or his Asian Cup title with Australia in 2015.
It was a sentiment echoed by former Scotland striker Alan Brazil on radio this week as he rolled his eyes and groaned over the mooted appointment and then ignorantly stuttered and stammered his way through pronouncing the Postecoglou surname.
You would hope someone of his position would bother to do some actual research on the person he is speaking about and his reaction may be fitting of his typical shock-jock shtick and therefore easy to ignore, if not for so many others in Scotland who are adopting the same thought process.
Thankfully there are other fans and pundits of a more open and learned mind, such as BT Sport presenter Darrell Currie, who was a guest on the ABC Grandstand Football Podcast this week.
“Some of the supporters will without doubt be sceptical to begin with, they’ll want to know more about his coaching style and the players he’ll want to bring in,” Currie said.
“The support will be there though.
“When you become a manager of Celtic, the support he is going to receive at the beginning is probably like nothing he has ever seen before in his life.
“He’ll be a hero from the start, and it will either go to another level or it goes wrong.”
Postecoglou to face media glare
The battle to win over the fans before a ball is kicked can be done through the media and while journalists will be looking for any chink in the Postecoglou armour, they will be unlikely to find one — as Australian football fans know all too well — once they meet his infamous ‘glare and stare’ from across the desk.
He will likely strike an emotional chord with the supporters he is set to be working for, as he has previously achieved during his coaching career.
“It’s absolutely huge,” Currie said.
“As soon as he comes in, he’ll realise he’s addressing every Celtic fan around the world. Winning that press corps over as well is going to be so important. Win them over and he will get great headlines from the off.
“If he can control that well and give them the headlines that they want and play that game he’ll be off to a flyer, the fans will buy into it.
“But he’ll have to understand that every word he says in that market will be analysed. Every single thing right or wrong that he does, somebody will remind him.
“Everything you do in Glasgow makes the newspaper in some way. I’m not sure he’ll ever have had anything quite like this.”
Postecoglou’s biggest challenge early on — should all be ratified — along with winning over the fans and media will be turning over a squad that relinquished a run of nine straight titles and finished some 25 points behind Rangers last season.
The captain and stalwart Scott Brown has left, which may actually assist Postecoglou in building a fresh approach to things in the dressing room, while several other key players are reportedly on the verge of leaving.
It is the kind of project that Postecoglou would normally relish and may even buy him some more time than is usually afforded a new Celtic manager.
“I think he’ll get more time than had he joined 12 months ago,” Currie said.
“Because he’s going to have to rebuild that dressing room and sign new players but he’s going to walk into Champions League qualifiers and the money that comes with it [should Celtic qualify] will help shape that budget as well.”
Compiling his new squad and then getting his players to buy in to his style of football immediately will be a huge task for Postecoglou to undertake with those Champions League qualifiers also on the horizon.
Traditionally, Postecoglou’s projects have taken a little while to bed in but once they do it has almost always resulted in a period of dominance and style of football that is aesthetically delightful.
That is of course important to the Celtic fans but beating Rangers home and away and closing that 25-point gap significantly will be of greater importance in the initial stages.
“It’s a bit of both. Celtic fans expect a style of football, they want to see great football,” Currie said.
“The only question is do they have the players to do that from the off? Celtic fans will want a style of football that Ange can bring to them but to begin with they want to win, they want to get through those Champions League qualifying rounds.”
Let us just hope the UEFA Pro Licence lag does not stop Postecoglou and Australian football from being afforded the chance to do that.