Celtic: Ange Postecoglou refuses to be drawn on advanced talks over manager's job

By Chris McLaughlinBBC Scotland sports news correspondent
Ange Postecoglou
Ange Postecoglou led Yokohama F Marinos to the title in Japan in 2019

Ange Postecoglou insists his focus is on managing Yokohama F Marinos despite being in advanced talks with Celtic about becoming their new team boss.

The Glasgow club quickly turned to the Greece-born Australian after number one target Eddie Howe rejected the chance to take over from Neil Lennon.

His switch to Scotland could come early this week, but on Sunday he led his side to a 2-1 win over Shimizu S-Pulse.

"Those who know me know my focus is on what's in front of me," he said.

Answering a question from Japan Timesexternal-link journalist Dan Orlowitz after the J-League victory, the 55-year-old added: "I've understood there's some speculation around the future, but I've stopped thinking about the what-ifs in the world a long time ago.

"My focus the last couple of days has been on making sure we play well."

The win takes Postecoglou's side into the AFC Champions League spots, 15 points behind leaders Kawasaki but with three games in hand.

However, he could soon be in charge of a Celtic squad needing to be rebuilt after relinquishing their title and who had Lennon's former assistant, John Kennedy, as interim boss for the final three months of the season.

In a statement on Friday, the deposed Scottish champions cited "reasons outwith both his and Celtic's control" for the collapse of the move for former Bournemouth manager Howe following talks that had begun in early April.

The club added that they had spoken to "a number of candidates" and aimed to appoint a new manager "very shortly".

Postecoglu managed Brisbane Roar - where he won two titles - and Melbourne Victory in the A-League before taking charge of the national team in 2013.

His four-year tenure included managing Australia at the 2014 World Cup and steering the team to Asian Cup success a year later - the country's first major trophy.

He left after securing qualification for the 2018 World Cup and was appointed at Yokohama in December 2017, with the J League title following in 2019.

Celtic ended this season without a trophy for the first time since 2010 as their bid for a record 10th consecutive title saw them finish 25 points behind Rangers.

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