Ange Postecoglou must have a persistent burning sensation stinging away at his ears these days.

If not being loosely linked with every vacancy in the Premier League – about three jobs a week is going rate down there these days – he is a point of discussion at press conferences up and down the country. To an extent, this simply comes with the territory of being Celtic manager. As figurehead at the best team in the country, you may just crop up in conversation from time to time.

And while seeing their beloved boss paired up with whichever English club has sacked someone next is a source of annoyance for fans, it often stems from little more than Postecoglou being priced up by the bookies. Anyway, that he is consistently included in these discussions is testament to the work carried out in Glasgow, but lately it seems he feels there have been attempts to undervalue that work.

Now, I don’t think Postecoglou is the type of character to be kept up all night by Michael Beale – or anyone else – contending that he is a ‘lucky man’, but that he still makes the odd reference to it here and there hints it did not sit awfully well. And then there was Hibs manager Lee Johnson pondering at which point does routine rag dolling of most domestic opponents become ‘too easy’ for the Greek-Australian.

Celtic have won 28 of their last 29 Premiership outings, and have not lost a domestic home fixture since the last days of Neil Lennon, all the way back in January 2021. Cruising to a second consecutive Premiership title at present, they are also favourites to win the Scottish Cup, thus completing another clean sweep of silverware.

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I was not privy to the conversation which led to Johnson mentioning Postecoglou, but he later insisted he had meant no disrespect to his counterpart. That came after a bit of blowback from the Celtic manager, who suggested the use of words such as ‘lucky’ and ‘easy’ to describe his job were no coincidence.

“Every manager is allowed to use their platform in any way they want and say what they want,” Postecoglou said. “I don’t think it’s accidental that the words ‘lucky’ and ‘easy’ are used. They aren’t words I would use to describe any manager. If you are in this job, irrespective of anything, the one thing you know is that it’s not easy.

“If people think I come in here at midday, spend a couple of hours, have a cappuccino and then go home to the family, then they are kidding themselves on. I think they know that, but the use of those words is probably deliberate. That’s fine. If that is what people believe, they are allowed to do that. What I know is that within this building, nothing comes easy for us.”

It was a robust defence of his players, staff, and himself. In any context, I think all of us would get our backs up at the perceived suggestion you haven’t been putting in a serious shift when it is demonstrably not the case. I don't think that is what Johnson was driving at, mind you, given his further comments on the money gap between Glasgow's big two and the rest.

Of course, there is a conversation to be had over levelling Scottish football’s playing field, albeit it's hard to escape the notion that ship sailed long ago. But in terms of whether Postecoglou is playing the cinch on its lowest difficulty setting, you would not be surprised if he feels there’s a touch of hypocrisy about all this.

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Cast your mind back to June 2021 and his dramatic arrival from Yokohama F. Marinos. While there is a misconception that all and sundry predicted immediate, grisly doom for the new man, there were more than a few unflattering verdicts bandied around, with one ex-player suggesting Postecoglou was on course to be sacked by Christmas, all before he’d had the chance to manage even a single Premiership match. I daresay more than a few Tweets bearing his name have since been quietly deleted.

At the time, though, few rival supporters were expressing dismay over the breakdown in negotiations with Eddie Howe, and it was well-noted the man Celtic fans would now not trade for anyone in the world was not the club’s first choice. There was a not particularly perception that, in the league’s two-horse race, the odds were stacked against him - Celtic had key players departing, boardroom upheaval and a Rangers team fresh from an unbeaten season to contend with, all at the same time.

With that in mind, can anyone really grumble with Postecoglou if he’s thinking: ‘Hold on a minute, not so long ago people were saying I’d be gone by Christmas, now apparently it’s all too easy?’

Yes, Celtic’s resources are plentiful and he has been well backed, but on a personal level he would be justified in believing this one cannot be had both ways. There was little, if any, talk of money spent when Celtic lost three of their first six league matches under his leadership. Throwing cash at a problem is not exactly a guarantee of success, either – just ask Graham Potter and Chelsea.

Celtic have always enjoyed access to greater riches, but they have not always maximised it in the way Postecoglou is doing currently. Transfer missteps have become a rarity, completion of business is impressively efficient, and he has initiated a hugely successful tapping in to the Asian market. On the pitch, his squad possess an iron-clad winning mentality that simply refuses to entertain the slightest notion of complacency, even as they rack up victory after victory.

They have been so consistent that Rangers could well finish the season close to 100 points, yet still reflect on it withing nothing but deep disappointment. It is an incredibly high bar to set in a city where second is last, and it is wholly understandable that he will not allow his efforts downplayed, intentionally or not, and especially how it all began for him.

As for whether he eventually takes a fancy for pastures new? Honestly, it is futile trying to predict what may or may not come down the pipeline for a manager engineering sustained success. Just as Celtic atop Scottish football’s food chain, they will be well aware of their place in the wider hierarchy.

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Someone, somewhere could make Postecoglou an offer he cannot refuse tomorrow, and that would be that – a fact of footballing of life applicable to 99 per cent of managers and, therefore, not worth agonising over.

In the here and now, Postecoglou’s ultimate goal is to make Celtic competitive in Europe, and he will be far from satisfied with how his two campaigns have panned out on that front. As Lee Johnson himself caveated, cracking the continent will not stop being a considerable challenge any time soon, and the only way Celtic can keep chipping away at is to ensure domestic business is taken care of. There was a time in the recent past it was suggested even that would be beyond Postecoglou, never mind it being ‘too easy’.