CAN you hear it? If you are quiet and stay very still, you can just about make it out. That’s right, it’s the world’s smallest violin, and it is playing just for Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

Of course, as the Rangers manager whined about financial disparity in his post-match interview on Wednesday night - after watching his team take their second four-goal chasing in four days – it was a little hard to make it out above the thousands of cups of tea being simultaneously and forcefully spluttered out by fans of smaller Scottish clubs.

Setting aside that delicious slice of irony, even for a large number of Rangers supporters, their manager’s comments took the cake.

“To compete in the Champions League you need hundreds of millions,” van Bronckhorst said. “Otherwise you can’t compete.”

To win the tournament, perhaps he’s right. There is some truth in what he says. But there was no excuse for his players failing to at least compete on the night in Amsterdam, and it was the last thing fans wanted to hear after yet another abject display.

Dinamo Zagreb defeated Chelsea in this matchday, after all, while Liverpool’s wage budget far exceeds that of Napoli, who tonked the English Premier League side later in the evening.

The basics - not allowing free headers from corners, working hard for the team (the Rangers players ran 6km less than the Ajax players collectively) - don’t cost a thing.

It was the fatalistic tone of van Bronckhorst’s comments that was so alarming for Rangers supporters, tens of thousands of whom have forked out £180 to watch three Champions League ties at Ibrox don’t forget, as well as hundreds more for away trips. I wonder how sales would have gone had the marketing slogan been a rousing ‘We can’t compete’.

On the other side of the city, Ange Postecoglou knows just as well as van Bronckhorst does that his team are at a financial disadvantage compared to the giants of European football, but compare and contrast his rhetoric from before and after Celtic’s defeat to Real Madrid to that of the Ibrox manager.

Postecoglou was true to his word that his team were going to go down swinging, taking the game to Madrid and making their match a real contest for the best part of an hour before the class of the European champions shone through.

The mood after the game in Celtic Park though, despite the 3-0 loss, was almost buoyant. And it was certainly defiant, rather than defeatist. That all stemmed from the words and actions of the manager.

The end result might have been similar, but the timbre of the managers' pronouncements and the resultant performances of their teams could hardly have been more different.

Yes, Postecoglou has the Premiership trophy in his hippie and a 4-0 win over Rangers at the weekend to put him on rock-solid ground with his supporters in any case, but in his refusal to settle for Celtic’s presumed place in the European food chain and in his commitment to playing on the front foot no matter the opposition, he has the Celtic fans enraptured.

The only black cloud on the Celtic horizon at the minute is the looming, nagging worry that Postecoglou’s work – so long dismissed, even here in Scotland, because of his origins and where he was operating – is no longer going unnoticed.

If losing Brendan Rodgers to Leicester City stuck in the craw, losing Postecoglou to Brighton would be the sickener to end them all.

No one would reasonably argue that Brighton are a bigger club than Celtic outwith the crazed ramblings perhaps of some mockney talkSport wind-up merchant, but in the modern game the Seagulls will be soaring ahead of the Celts when it comes to finances, even taking into account the Champions League money that is rolling in this season.

Would a crack at the English Premier League be enough to tempt Postecoglou away? Perhaps one day. But at the risk of looking even more of a wally than I already do, I would be stunned if it was now.

Celtic are in the midst of a Champions League group that not only looks to offer a fair to decent shot at qualification for the knockout stage of the competition, but also still offers Postecoglou the chance to manage his team against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu. In his own words, the club currently offers everything that he has ever wanted.

This time next week I could be writing this column with a great dollop of egg on my face, as nothing should surprise anyone in football, but I’ll risk the yolky visage and say Postecoglou isn’t going anywhere.

The same may not be said for van Bronckhorst, though for very different reasons. If Rangers fail to win against Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Saturday (should the match go ahead), then the Dutchman’s position will come under major scrutiny, even this early in the season.

In the past week, van Bronckhorst has already lost two battles on the pitch, and the war of words off it. His job might well be next.