THERE is no formula to being a successful Celtic manager, it would seem. There have been those who have been great coaches. Those who have been old-school managers who kept their distance. For good or bad, most have approached the job in their own unique way.

Either through accident or design though, if there is some alchemy that leads to success in the Celtic dugout, Ange Postecoglou seems to possess it. It is perhaps why so many former Celtic players seem to see bits of their own managers in him.

Paul Lambert certainly does, drawing parallels between the way Postecoglou has handled himself coming in from outside of Scottish football in his first season at the club and the way Wim Jansen rose to that challenge back in his own playing days.

There is one key quality though Postecoglou possesses that Lambert feels he hasn’t seen displayed so adeptly since Martin O’Neill was the figurehead of the club; leadership.

Just like O’Neill, Postecoglou seems to have taken the whole of the club with him on the journey he has plotted, with the players and fans firmly behind a man who may not come from these parts, but who they feel clearly embodies the values of the club.

“Ange has the same sort of air about him that Martin did in terms of being that figurehead for the club,” Lambert said.

“People used to say that Martin didn’t coach, but he did, and he was a much better coach than he got credit for. But what he was really good at was managing people. He was great at managing the group.

“Now, Ange is obviously a great football coach. But he seems to have that same sort of knack for managing people that Martin did, and the players seem to have really bought into what he is doing.

“It is important at a club like Celtic, perhaps especially at Celtic, to take the fans with you. You have to say that Ange has managed to do that. The supporters love him.

“But it is also vital that the players are completely behind you and what you are trying to achieve, and he obviously has that buy-in from them too.

“Some of these players that are at Celtic now maybe just needed to be managed a wee bit, and as we have seen he has been able to get the best out of the players he has as a result.

“Just like Martin did too, he seems to put that bit of distance between himself and the players, and that is important. The players won’t fear him, as such, but there will be a respect there.

“I went up to speak to him recently at Lennoxtown and that was really good of him to have me there. He spoke really well, the training was really sharp and you can see why the players are responding to him.”

That, they are. So much so that what looked like a disparate group of players thrown together at the start of the season are inching towards a potential Treble. And they could eat up a huge portion of the ground they still have to cover as they pursue that objective with a win over Rangers in today’s Scottish Cup semi-final.

“I fancy them to shade it,” Lambert said.

“Going into these games as a player, you’ve got to take each one at face value for what it is. But I do believe that Celtic have a psychological edge over Rangers after the last couple of games. And they have the momentum too.

“What a position that would leave them in if they win. They would be strong favourites to win the Treble from there, and nobody would have thought that in the summer.

“It’s been remarkable what Ange and his players have managed to achieve, and if they go on to win the league, they absolutely deserve it. And it’s the same for the Scottish Cup, they will have deserved that too.

“A Treble isn’t an easy thing to win, so you have to take your hat off to him if he manages to do that.

“What I would say though is that even if that doesn’t happen, it has been a really successful season for Ange if Celtic win the title given where things were when he came in.

“There would have been a fair bit of anxiety and concern around the place at the end of last season. Lenny (Neil Lennon) had gone, the club had lost 10 in-a-row, players were obviously going to be leaving.

“Ange came in and don’t forget, it wasn’t instant success. He lost three of his first six games, and there were the same doubts being expressed over him that were thrown at Wim Jansen when he first came in.

“To go from there to even be contending for the title is some going, but to potentially win a Treble would be incredible.”