ANGE Postecoglou gave short shrift to the notion that having a substantially larger transfer budget than his rival managers had been the sole reason for the success he has enjoyed since moving to this country in the wake of Celtic’s win over Rangers in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden last month.

“I have to spend that money,” he said. “That comes with great responsibility. It keeps me up at night! I can get it wrong. Many have. With bigger clubs than ours as well.”

As with so many things, Postecoglou was spot on. Splurging millions more than your opponents on new players by no means guarantees silverware in football. Failing to invest wisely can, too, have catastrophic consequences.

His predecessor Neil Lennon will testify to that. He ended up losing his job during a disastrous 2020/21 season partly because the Parkhead club’s recruitment the summer before had been so poor.

They lavished £9m on Albian Ajeti and Vasilis Barkas and paid a pretty penny to take Shane Duffy and Diego Laxalt on loan. None of them justified the sums which it took to secure their services and their bid to complete 10-In-A-Row ended in failure and acrimony.

READ MOREDujon Sterling Rangers transfer links addressed by Michael Beale

Rangers, too, have squandered cash attempting to get ahead of their city rivals in the past and ended up paying a high price for their reckless largesse.

They have outspent Celtic just once since they returned to the top flight seven years ago. In the 2017/18 campaign they forked out over £9m on 11 fresh faces. But the likes of Bruno Alves, Greg Docherty, Carlos Pena and Eduardo Herrera disappointed, the hapless Pedro Caixinha was sacked and they finished empty-handed.

There is much to be said, in Scotland especially, for spending smart rather than spending big. Reo Hatate, Matt O’Riley and Daizen Maeda by no means broke the bank. Aaron Mooy, meanwhile, was a free transfer. But they have all been absolutely exceptional for the treble chasers this term.

The Herald:

Across the River Clyde, Scott Arfield, Joe Aribo, Leon Balogun, Calvin Bassey, Glen Kamara, John Lundstram, Allan McGregor, Fashion Sakala, James Tavernier and Scott Wright helped the Govan club reach the Europa League final last season. Collectively, they cost less than £1m.

All of that said, having healthy reserves in the bank and the ability to strengthen your squad with quality reinforcements before every season is no bad thing. There is a definite correlation between the money that Celtic have spent and the titles and trophies they have accrued.

In the past seven seasons, the Glasgow giants have parted with in the region of £110m on new goalkeepers, centre backs, full-backs, midfielders, wingers and strikers. And that figure does not take loan fees into account either.

READ MOREAlex Lowry has the 'drive' to catch Michael Beale's eye at Rangers

Their nearest challengers have, in stark contrast, only been able to free up around £60m. Splashing out £50m more has helped them to plunder 16 major honours. Rangers have lifted just two in the corresponding period. It is, as Postecoglou has stressed, not the be all and end all. But, as the Americans say, you do the math.

Michael Beale’s team has competed admirably with Postecoglou’s side in three of the four Old Firm derbies which they have played this year. But they have lost three and drawn one of them.

If they had been able to field a Cameron Carter-Vickers, a Jota, a Kyogo Furuhashi, a trio worth £17m, the outcomes might, just might, have been a little different. They have lacked a cutting edge in the final third and a robustness at the back.

The Herald:

Irate Rangers fans turned on sporting director Ross Wilson and managing director Stewart Robertson in the second half of this season when it became clear they were not going to win the cinch Premiership. The former has since departed for Nottingham Forest and the latter will move on imminently.

However, was it really their fault that Celtic can, thanks to a long-standing and sustainable business model that enables them to more than cover the cost of all of their outgoings, attract a far higher calibre of footballer?

It is the major shareholders, the men who hold the purse strings, who ultimately determine their on-field fortunes.

READ MOREAlfredo Morelos part of Rangers squad to face Celtic

Beale will oversee a massive overhaul of his squad after a wretched season ends this month. He has been informed he will have double digit millions at his disposal by his superiors and the process is already well underway. The arrivals of Jack Butland, Kieran Dowell and Dujon Sterling are imminent.

But receiving the same sort of funds that Postecoglou has had to work with in the past couple of years – and may well be handed again in the coming weeks - will be crucial to the success of his rebuild. Will they be forthcoming?

The new regime hope the radical changes they have made to both the football and non-football departments in recent days will result in a more dynamic, effective and profitable operation overall, not least on the player trading front, than has been the case previously.

In the short-term, though, they will need to unearth a few gems in the transfer market and hope, as was the case three years ago at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, their age-old adversaries get things spectacularly wrong in order to reclaim the Scottish title.