John Hartson left in "disbelief" with exasperating Celtic failure

By Euan Davidson

June 1, 2021

Former Celtic striker John Hartson is always good value in the press.

Big Bad John, as we came to know him, often speaks with clarity and with relatability about Celtic matters. After all, he became a supporter of the club through an impactful spell in Paradise. Now a popular pundit in the Scottish Football media, Hartson can be relied upon to give his take.

And today, he’s claiming that Celtic need to “think bigger” in terms of their manager hunt. The latest favourite is Greek-Australian boss Ange Postecoglou. And while the Yokohama F Marinos boss has plenty of accolades on his CV, Hartson is blown away.

Speaking on the Go Radio Football Show, Hartson said:

“No disrespect to Ange Postecoglou; He comes with some raving reports, he’s a disciplinarian and plays on the front foot and attacking football, which sounds great if you’re going to manage Celtic.

An exciting seven days for Celtic fans is about to get underway

“I look at the situation and think he’s managed the Australia youth side, he’s managed the national side, he’s currently managing in Japan. I just think Celtic need to be thinking bigger, in terms of their next manager.

“I was in disbelief when I heard about Eddie Howe. I couldn’t believe that the talks broke down.

“However, as I said, Celtic should still be looking bigger. Celtic is a global job. They are the team doing the chasing at the minute.

“Other than that it’s been a dead quiet end to the season. I want more excitement as a fan.”

Big Bad John / (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

You can understand John Hartson and his point of view, but Celtic fans need to have realistic ambitions

It’s good to hear John Hartson talking the club up yet again. He remains a favourite, and his point of view is entirely reasonable.

In the same way that Celtic won’t sign elite players, we have to assume that the club won’t be able to attract the top tier of managerial talent, either. That sounds negative, and I don’t mean to talk the club down. But we can’t compete with the likes of Real Madrid, Juventus or even most Premier League teams for managerial talent. Money talks, and while Celtic can offer it, we can’t afford managers like Conte, Zidane or whoever. When Hartson talks about going “bigger” you can only assume he means elite coaching talent.

This isn’t an article to suggest that Ange Postecoglou is an “elite” manager. But given the state Celtic are in, all reports from Australia and Japan seem to suggest he’s a really decent one. One who won’t settle for boring draws, or play narrow and make us easy to defend.

I’m also not saying we have to just put up and shut up, either. And Hartson’s right, we need excitement. Some transfers to get our teeth into, some real movement from the club.

But equally, Postecoglou might not be the disaster that many fear, either. The point is, we don’t know enough to say anything conclusively. Even the “best” managers could come to Celtic and struggle, such is the pressure and the nature of circumstance in football. Absolutely nothing is guaranteed.

So, John’s right to a degree, certainly in talking the club up. But we probably need to temper any ideas about an “elite” manager, for a while at least.

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