The key detail of Gerrard departure to Aston Villa that should thrill Celtic supporters
As you’ll know by now, Steven Gerrard has left Celtic title rivals Rangers to join Aston Villa as their new manager.
A week is a long time in Scottish football. Most people were expecting a quiet international break, but it has been anything but.
As soon as Dean Smith left his Villa position at the weekend, Gerrard was installed as a favourite. It seemed to be a formality from that point onwards – unless you were a Rangers fan in denial.
But it’s not actually the exit of Gerrard that thrills me so much. It’s long been known he is something of a figurehead manager. An organiser for sure and a unifying force for Rangers – he has undoubtedly left them in a better position than the one he found them in.
However, the real disruption for Rangers this season as a result of this move is mostly like to come from the departure of his key backroom staff at Auchenhowie.
It has been reported that tactics man Michael Beale, assistant Gary McAllister, technical coach Tom Culshaw and head of performance Jordan Milsom will all be joining Gerrard in Birmingham. Analyst Scott Mason is also on the departure list, as well as some medical staff.
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That’s a significant upheaval that effectively starts this Rangers project from scratch in terms of day-to-day working at the training centre. Even if they appoint a manager quickly, a variety of staff will have to be added. That takes time and costs money.
As we know from the departure of Brendan Rodgers to Leicester City with a lot of staff, a situation like this can create real problems for a football team. If Gerrard was moving to Villa on his own, this would be far less relevant to us in terms of any advantage.
Celtic effectively have a six-month head start on the Ibrox team now. Ange Postecoglou and his squad have gone from the least prepared of the two clubs, to by far the most settled. It’s a huge turnaround that shouldn’t be underestimated.
Ultimately, any joy or trophy success for Celtic this season will come from the hard work at Lennoxtown and consistent results. It will come from the process put in place by Postecoglou and the players buying into that.
However, I do think all of this is a significant boost to the Bhoys. It’s one that has to be taken advantage of, starting with a semi-final win, more league victories and a positive January transfer window.
In other news, Update on Celtic hero Kyogo after today’s Japan match.