Ange Postecoglou has done a remarkable job at Celtic.
His side’s 3-0 destruction of Rangers in midweek was the icing on the cake of what has been a very positive eight months with the Greek-born Australian in charge.
When he was appointed last summer, I wrote in this column that he had to be given time to succeed.
He had inherited a tough gig.
There was how the club’s chances of 10-in-a-row had been blown last season.
A massive upheaval was taking place, and was clearly needed.
Just about everybody had Rangers as clear favourites to retain their title.
With Peter Lawwell gone, there was a new chief executive in place, no head of recruitment and with Scott Brown moving to Aberdeen, a new captain was required.
Steven Gerrard had been given three years at Ibrox to win the Premiership, and I felt Ange had to be shown the same patience – and given the same backing at Parkhead – as Steven was afforded across the city.
Eight months down the line, nothing has been won yet in terms of the Premiership title. But Celtic are clearly in a good place.
I was at Celtic Park on Wednesday night and the hosts fully deserved their victory to go top of the table.
However, it’s still very, very close, and I wouldn’t necessarily say the Hoops have the edge just now. They are just a single point ahead of Rangers, and there are still 14 games to go and 42 points up for grabs.
What I would say is that I’d rather be in Celtic’s position than anybody else’s.
And big Ange deserves enormous credit for the current situation.
He came in from Japanese football to a new club, in a new country and a football environment he would have had very little knowledge of.
Ange has fulfilled his role quite superbly.
His signings have been first-class. He took his time to assess the squad, and what was required to improve the team and mould it into a style he wanted and felt would succeed.
There was no panic buying from him, and he ignored the screams for him to add bodies in his first few days in charge.
It was clear he wanted to tap into the Japanese market that he knew, and soon signed Kyogo Furuhashi. He has been brilliant.
Daizen Maeda, Yosuke Ideguchi and Reo Hatate arrived from the same source last month, and the latter has made as big an impact as Kyogo.
His contribution against Rangers last Wednesday night – with two of the goals and setting up the third for Liel Abada – was quite staggering.
The Japanese midfielder grabbed the headlines and rightly so. But I have to single out Callum McGregor.
He took over the armband from Scott Brown, so had massive boots to fill. Scott is a club legend and led them to that quadruple Treble.
But Callum has taken to the role very effectively, and constantly sets a fantastic example.
He showed his commitment to the cause by playing through the pain barrier in midweek, and wearing a mask to protect his facial injury.
He has skill in abundance – and also that good habit of always passing the ball to a jersey of the same colour he is wearing!
Callum never complains and just carries out the instructions given to him by Ange and the coaching staff.
If Celtic do go on to win the title, I think Callum will have made as significant a contribution as anyone.
But it is far from over, and Rangers will not give up their title easily.
They will be hurting after that defeat, and Giovanni van Bronckhorst was clearly taken aback by the manner of it.
The Light Blues have dropped seven points since the January break, so they must quickly shake off their winter blues.
Giovanni will have learned plenty in the adversity of the midweek hammering about his players, and it will be interesting to see his team selection for the game against Hearts.
The return of Ryan Jack against Celtic was a positive, and he will improve the team. He is a leader, and must start today.
Aaron Ramsey has been signed on loan from Juventus, but he is not match fit. So he needs to quickly get up to speed.
He is a top midfielder, but I thought the Gers were fairly well off for players in that area of the park with Joe Aribo, Glen Kamara, Steve Davis and Jack already there.
But the club must have felt Aaron was too good to resist, and the Ibrox supporters will be hoping to see him making his debut today – and helping the team a much-needed three points.
Frank can give our Qatar hopes a boost
Let’s hope Frank Lampard’s appointment as Everton manager is good news for Nathan Patterson – and Scotland.
When Frank was in charge of Chelsea and Derby County, he wasn’t afraid to throw players in, regardless of their age.
He definitely backed the mantra of: “If you are good enough, then you are old enough”.
So we know that if Nathan shows up well in training every day, he will be given a fair chance.
Frank inherited the full-back after he was signed from Rangers by Rafa Benitez, but the 20-year-old has yet to feature in an Everton jersey.
We all know what he is capable of, however, and it would be good to see Nathan being involved every week.
But he will have to earn his place in the team.
Let’s hope he can do that ahead of Scotland’s World Cup play-off against Ukraine, which is now just over six weeks away.
Frank’s appointment seems to have been well received by the supporters.
But he now has to go and start winning games of football.
It doesn’t matter what you have achieved, or haven’t achieved, in the past. It’s about the here and now.
His priority will be to start climbing up the Premier League table, and quash as quickly as possible any notion that his club might be in a relegation battle.
He moved quickly before the Transfer Window closed to sign Tottenham’s Dele Alli, and Donny van de Beek from Manchester United.
They weren’t get regular first-team football at their previous clubs, but they are both talented players.
Overall, it will be interesting to see how it goes for Frank.
I thought he was very unlucky to lose his job at Chelsea and, on a personal level, I’m delighted to see him back in football.
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe