Muscat says 'humble' Ange will revel in the moment

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An unprepossessing soul content to let acolytes lap up the lion’s share of acclaim and adulation, Postecoglou, Muscat claims, will permit himself only the simple luxury of a quietly-savoured vintage malt whiskey should the Hoops beat Hearts on Saturday and Rangers fail to overcome Dundee United a day later.

If destiny sways that way, the title will be Postecoglou’s in his first season in the Glasgow gold fish bowl, adding to the League Cup already in his possession. 

Derided as Ange Postecog-who? by quick-to-judge cynics when he succeeded Neil Lennon in the off-season, the former Socceroos and Yokohama F. Marinos mentor has won hearts and minds in one of world football’s most ruthless and sectarian territories.

“If things go Ange’s way (this weekend) I have no doubt he’ll find a quiet moment to enjoy a nice glass of single malt (whiskey), former Rangers defender Muscat said. “But he’ll get by far the most enjoyment in seeing others celebrate in the moment, whenever and if that moment comes.

“One of the things I admire most about Ange is his ability in moments of triumph to take pleasure in the achievements of the people around him who he cares for and trusts.

“He loves to see people he’s close to rewarded for hard work …. he takes a huge amount of pride in that.

“He cares about and believes in those who have gone on the journey with him, whether that’s the players or the backroom staff.”

Having succeeded Postecoglou at Marinos, his former understudy at Melbourne Victory has continued to build on a template of flair, adventure and  a hive-like work ethic at a club sitting fourth on the J1 League table after 10 games - seven points off Kashima Antlers with a game in hand. 

And that after being forced to refashion the club after a bevy of high profile departures.

But he has kept a close eye on the evolving miracle at Parkhead, where Postecoglou has refreshed, reinvigorated a rebuilt a squad in some disarray when he took charge.

Celtic is six points clear of defending champions Rangers at the summit with three games apiece remaining, and the taste of the title is on the tip of Postecoglou’s tongue.

“It’s a great testimony to Ange to have got his team’s noses in front at this point, considering how closely matched they are to a very good Rangers side,” Muscat said. “Ange would have loved to have got it done last weekend (in the Old Firm derby at Parkhead) but it was a very tight contest (which finished 1-1).

“For him it will be all about performance, performance, performance in the run-in.

“There was a certain amount of transition when he took over (with a multitude of new faces integrated) but they haven’t compromised on performances.

“The way they’ve been playing far exceeds last season - they’re fighting for everything but also enjoying their football.”