Given where he has come from, is Ange Postecoglou usually a fan of the underdog?

“How would you frame my career?” he said with a smile. It is a tag which has followed him around, if not one he is particularly fond of. He has never perceived himself that way and it is perhaps why he is not thinking of Inverness Caledonian Thistle that way, either.

Postecoglou is all too aware of their penchant for taking a wrecking ball to the ambitions of Celtic managers. The mere mention of the Caley Jags is enough to trigger flashbacks of Neil Lennon volleying water bottles, Josh Meekings’ handball that never was and one immortal newspaper headline among a fanbase who would otherwise feel little apprehension at facing the sixth-placed team from the Championship in a Scottish Cup final.

Postecoglou is hellbent on ensuring he does not recreate that headline come Saturday evening. He is adamant it has been primary justification for a continued insistence that interest from Tottenham Hotspur has not crossed his radar this week. Ironically, though, his refusal to offer a definitive answer on whether he will remain in Glasgow beyond this weekend has created a stream of headlines in itself, and left an anxious fanbase braced for a departure which may or may not materialise in the coming days.

Whatever happens next, it is completely understandable that Postecoglou will do everything in his power not to be portrayed as the Celtic manager who blew the treble because his head was already in North London. That, and the fact he would rather not follow Lennon, John Barnes and Ronny Deila in cursing the name Inverness for the rest of his days – a historical trend he’s been frequently reminded of.

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“Oh yeah, oh yeah - on a daily basis,” he said. “There you go again. No, you are spot on, that is the most pertinent question. All the other stuff you have been trying to drag from me, that’s what is going to be on me for the rest of my career.

“Irrespective of what happens to me next. Irrespective. I could end up whatever you want in 10 years’ time [and that would be the case]. I’m not going to let that happen. It’s not all in my power, obviously. But I’m going to make sure we are going to be absolutely well-prepared to deliver on the day.

“That story…there is a history with that and this football club and it has been mentioned to me numerous times. I was well aware of it anyway. It has destroyed managers’ careers, and I’m not going to let that happen, I’m just not.

“And that is why you may all think I’m trying to deflect or whatever but I can’t think anything beyond that because that is going to be the story. And all these other questions are going to be there after the game, and that is fine, but that is going to be the story come the final whistle.”

February 8, 2000 was the date Inverness pulled off what remains one of the great Scottish football shocks. Even on the other side of the world, Postecoglou still remembers it clearly.

“I was surrounded by Celtic fans at the time,” he recalled. “We had been at the Club World Cup in the January [with South Melbourne three weeks before]. Man United had pulled out of the FA Cup that year, and that happened in the Scottish FA Cup. I do remember it, and I remember the headline.”

Postecoglou’s part-time team were so unfancied in that tournament that FIFA president Sepp Blatter threw them a party for not getting humiliated in defeats to United, Vasco da Gama and Necaxa, an outcome which would have somewhat devalued his shiny new tournament.

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It was a surreal experience for the Australians, finding themselves embroiled in the bizarre uproar which accompanied Sir Alex Ferguson foregoing his side’s opportunity to retain the FA Cup in favour of a mid-season trip to Brazil. One English tabloid even hunted down Postecoglou’s star striker at his petrol station day-job as a means of shaming United.

“We were underdogs by a fair way,” said Postecoglou. “We were semi-pro at the time and it was one of the UK tabloids that had our star striker, who at the time was working at a pump station, filling up a car and the headline said something like ‘Man United gives up FA Cup to play petrol pump attendant’. It’s fair to say we were underdogs, but what a tournament, we loved it, and pushed teams all the way and gave a good account of ourselves. It was a bizarre tournament.”

Having been in that scenario of finding his team written off completely, Postecoglou knows how powerful the motivation driving Inverness on Saturday will be.

“Absolutely, that was us going there,” he insisted. “We were taking on the most famous teams in the world at the Maracana, and this was the first world club championships and there was so much attention. I remember Sepp Blatter visited our hotel the day before and for him to measure the success of the tournament was that we couldn’t have been beaten by double figures because it would have destroyed the whole concept.

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“We had Vasco da Gama first game and they had five World Cup winners and we lost two-nil and he came to the hotel and he threw a party. I have never seen anyone both so ecstatic and relieved in all my life - ’thank God, you’ve made the tournament’. It Was incredible.

“We used that [motivation] for the tournament: ‘They are not going to rate us, Vasco da Gama will take it easy and be looking at the next game against Man United, we have to try and take advantage of that.’ That is why we were competitive on the day. Obviously we didn’t win, but we were competitive. So, I’m well aware of the power that has if your opponent underestimates you.”