Confusion over Celtic and Harkin raises questions about Postecoglou

By Euan Davidson

June 1, 2021

Once again, at Celtic, confusion reigns.

This hour, we shared a report suggesting Fergal Harkin was “unlikely” to be Celtic’s first Director of Football since Kenny Dalglish [Daily Record]. Given his links in the footballing world and expertise, that’d be a blow in and of itself. The Irishman seemed very well-equipped for the task.

Also, he’d just recently rejected a job offer in Belgium. The chance to work on a ‘project’, as people insist on calling it, with a City Football Group-affiliated club didn’t seem to do it for Harkin. So far, so obvious; Harkin was going to come to Parkhead.

Except, as we’ve learned, no. So, what does that mean for the Celtic manager’s job? Especially when the current favourite was, according to Sky Sports, a Fergal Harkin recommendation:

“The 55-year-old has been recommended to Celtic by Fergal Harkin, who is expected to be named as the club’s sporting director this summer when he leaves his role as Manchester City’s football partnerships manager.”

Who’s right here? If the Daily Record are, then it throws a spanner into the works. The implication so far has been that Postecoglou was sold on the job by our likely incoming Director of Football. Yet again, lack of clarity over working relationships could be a stumbling block.

Yokohama F. Marinos boss Ange Postecoglou / (Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images)

Would Ange Postecoglou take Celtic job without Fergal Harkin’s presence?

It’s possible that too much has been made of Fergal Harkin imparting advice to Celtic. Even then though, he seems to have the ear of the Bhoys board. Given he’s employed by Manchester City and City Group, that’s more than a bit weird. At the time of writing, the Hoops have no connection to Sheik Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan or his footballing monopoly.

Sure, we’ve signed plenty of Manchester City-adjacent players, but that could just be based on results. We’ve signed a lot of Hibs players over the years, too.

For Postecoglou, though, much depends on how this job was presented to him. If a case of Harkin acting as a Celtic supporter with contacts to share, then that’s fine. But if Postecoglou was being advertised on Paradise as a chance to work with Fergal Harkin in a new set-up, then these latest reports could be a genuine issue. What we don’t know is how well-established the relationship between Harkin and Postecoglou is.

Who else does this? Following Celtic feels like more of a procedural drama than it does a football club at the moment. Can you, in living memory, remember such a convoluted search for a presence in the dugout? It seems daft that we’re having to consider working relationships between people that hitherto the last few months, very few of us had ever heard of.

Be ready for more unpredictability. Just like when we’re playing a lower-ranked club in Europe, Celtic are finding ways to make this needlessly difficult.

Or, they aren’t, and everyone’s getting carried away. Some clarity would be more than welcome.

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