Greek-Australian Ange Postecoglou has made the Scottish Football Writers’ Association five-man nominees list for the Manager of the Year award.
The 56-year-old Celtic FC manager was named alongside fellow Scottish Premiership managers Robbie Neilson and Malky MacKay, as well as the Scottish Championship’s Arbroath boss Dick Campbell and Scotland national team manager Steve Clarke.
Ange led a major overhaul in the European summer to win the Premier Sports Cup with the club and is on the brink of a Scottish Premiership title win, enjoying a six point advantage and a vastly superior goal difference to Rangers with only four games to go.
It has been an incredible turnaround from Postecoglou this season, with not many Celtic fans expecting as such in a short space of time.
The gaffer rebuilt a new squad after a rare trophy-less season for the East Glasgow side.
According to New York Times football writer Rory Smith, insiders at Manchester City “really rate” Postecoglou following his success at the City Football Group’s J-League side Yokohama F. Marinos.
After former Rangers boss Steven Gerrard was hired by Aston Villa last year, BBC Radio’s The Monday Night Club discussed whether Postecoglou could follow the same path.
“I’m not even sure it would be teams lower down in the Premier League (who would be interested),” Rory Smith said on 5 Live Sport.
“Ange Postecoglou is not going to get the Man City job, but there are a lot of people at City who really rate him.
“That actually says all you need to know about how well regarded he is within coaching circles. He worked for Yokohama Marinos which is the City Football Group team in the J-League.
“They think he’s really, really good. I’d be staggered if Pep (Guardiola) left in the summer or next summer if they gave it to Postecoglou, but there are people there who will tell you he’s a really gifted manager.
“I’m not saying it’s impossible (that Postecoglou would replace Guardiola), but it would be surprising.”
However former Celtic forward and joint Premier League topscorer Chris Sutton was baffled by the suggestion City would reject Postecoglou given his success everywhere he’s been.
“Do I think he could do it at that level? We’re talking about a guy with an unbelievable track record, but he’s sneered at because his track record has been in Australia and Japan,” Sutton said.
“People do sneer at him and we’re questioning if he’s good enough to take a job in the Premier League. What more does he have to do?
“Aston Villa have just taken Steven Gerrard in, and things aren’t going so well for Aston Villa, but has Ange Postecoglou achieved more in his managerial career than Steven Gerrard?
“Arsene Wenger was unheard of, wasn’t he? He was laughed at, sneered, a schoolteacher, that’s what Arsene Wenger was when he took over at Arsenal. What a career he had.
“So why are we doubting Postecoglou, who managed his national team at a World Cup, whether he could manage in the Premier League? I find that preposterous.”
Smith replied: “No-one’s doubting whether he could, I just think it’s unlikely that a team in the Champions League – rightly or wrongly – a team that wants to win every trophy in the world, would take a manager from Scotland.
“The excuse, the reason (they would give) would be that he has no Champions League experience. But he will next season.
“I’m not saying he can’t do it, it’s just unlikely that Man City would offer him the chance.”