Ange Postecoglou has stressed that the chance to join the treble-winning Celtic managers is far too important to allow talk of his future to disturb his focus on Saturday’s Scottish Cup final.
Beating cinch Championship side Inverness at Hampden will give Postecoglou’s team a clean sweep of domestic trophies and make it five out of six available since he arrived from Yokohama F Marinos in Japan in June 2021.
But much of the build-up to the game has been dominated by increased speculation over Postecoglou’s future amid reports the former Australia head coach is Tottenham’s preferred managerial candidate.
The 57-year-old said: “Somebody else was favourite last week, wasn’t he? So, it doesn’t register.
“I get all the interest and why people love to speculate on these things. But we have worked really, really hard to get ourselves into this position and, for me to let my mind wander about anything else than getting our team prepared for a big day on Saturday, is just not who I am.”
Postecoglou has been linked with numerous Premier League clubs this season including Leeds, Everton, Brighton, Crystal Palace and Chelsea so he feels no need to address his players on the matter.
“You are making it sound as if it’s the first time this has happened to me,” he said. “We have done this dance a few times this year. The players are well aware of where my thoughts lie.
“The players have been really good at focusing on what’s important. What’s important is being ready for a big game on Saturday.
“I have handled it before and I’ll handle it the same way. It doesn’t enter my sphere of thinking because my role is to make sure the team is absolutely prepared for what the next challenge is.
“If a cup final isn’t enough to draw all my attention to that, then nothing will be.”
The former Australia head coach, who is on a 12-month rolling contract, also dismissed questions over whether he had talks planned with the club hierarchy.
“No, because again that would mean me planning, organising, thinking about things other than Saturday,” he said.
“Look, I understand that’s your job to ask these questions because that’s the role you are in, but you are not invested in this football club like I am, like the players are, like our supporters are.
“I woke up this morning thinking about one thing, the same thing I have been thinking about for the last five days. I really want to make sure that we play well in this cup final and make it a truly special season.
“I know this football club has had a lot of success recently including trebles but over the history of time there aren’t too many that can claim to that. Not just for myself but for some of these players, it might be the only one they get. So we need to focus on that.
“It’s a massive role to be manager of this football club and for me to be dismissive of potentially our biggest game of the year is just not going to happen.”
Postecoglou could emulate Jock Stein, Martin O’Neill, Brendan Rodgers and Neil Lennon in winning the treble and is relishing the experience of Scottish Cup final day, after losing to eventual winners Rangers in last year’s semi-finals.
“Obviously it was the one trophy that escaped us last year and just the whole day, the occasion, it’s the last game on the calendar and just to be part of it was the first thing we were excited about,” he said.
“Back home the English FA Cup final followed by the Scottish FA Cup was kind of tradition – that was our Saturday night in May. We would religiously watch that, it was a bit of an event for us to sit around and watch those two games.
“It’s not just that it’s a cup final, it’s the occasion, the last game, there is always more about it, just the ceremony of the day. You would love to be a part of it.
“I didn’t watch it last year, so that goes to show that we were still hurting from the fact we weren’t there.
“Now we are there and that’s why we want to make the most of it.”
Postecoglou is also well aware of the history between the two finalists. Inverness have beaten Celtic in three of their seven Scottish Cup meetings, including the only one at Hampden, in the 2015 semi-finals, and in the first one, when then First Division Caley Thistle caused a huge upset which cost John Barnes his job.
“It’s a cautionary tale, put it that way,” Postecoglou said. “It has been mentioned to me a few times, I was aware of it anyway of course.
“But that’s what I am talking about. When people think that I’ve got other things on my mind, that I’d allow anything to enter the sphere where we are not preparing ourselves for that occasion… I don’t want to be that story.
“I want it to have a different ending this time. I want us to be the winners and us to claim the Scottish FA Cup, so that’s where my head’s at.”