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Daily Record
Daily Record
Keith Jackson

Frank Trimboli's Celtic VIP presence sounded alarm bells but fans could be showering kingmaker with flowers - Keith Jackson

Chances are you won’t be overly familiar with the name of Frank Trimboli.

And over the course of the next week or so Celtic’s supporters may have good reason to wish it had stayed that way. Or they could end up showering him with flowers and chocolates all the way down London Road. Either way, it seems increasingly likely that Mr Trimboli is about to emerge as a central character in the unfolding drama which will ultimately decide if Ange Postecoglou is Home or Away this summer.

So it was more than intriguing that he just so happened to be there in person at Celtic Park on Saturday, with a VIP pass to join in the title celebrations before Sky’s cameras caught him hugging and high-fiving Postecoglou like a long lost brother down on the pitch. Trimboli, you see, is the man who makes deals happen. He may represent Postecoglou professionally but he is not exactly renowned for adopting a touchy-feely, Jerry Maguire approach to fostering agent-client relationships.

Rather, he has a reputation as a no nonsense Aussie adviser with a hard earned reputation for getting things over the line. Put it this way, if there are any balls that need breaking, invariably, Frank the Tank’s your man.

He also enjoys a long standing working relationship - and wields enormous influence - with the men in the command room of the very club which is now pecking around Big Ange like a feisty cockerel. Trimboli is credited, for example, with playing a key role in the somewhat left-field appointment of another Australian, Scott Munn, as Tottenham Hotspur’s chief football officer.

Munn’s bespoke role and wide reaching remit will make him pretty much the decision maker in chief from now on at the North London club. He starts his job on July 1 and when he does he will be second in seniority only to chairman Daniel Levy who, understandably, is seeking to take a backseat after overseeing a spectacularly Spursy season, even by their own basket case standards.

Like Postecoglou, Munn has a history steeped in the City Group having held down a position as chief executive at Melbourne City FC before being promoted to head up the entire China division over the last four years. So it’s little wonder if the alarm bells began clattering even more loudly inside Celtic Park at the weekend when Trimboli’s name appeared on Big Ange’s personal guest list for a second successive title party.

Trimboli’s presence in the posh seats will certainly not have escaped the notice of Celtic chairman Peter Lawwell who will be acutely aware of all the various personalities and pieces which are in play as Spurs weigh up their next managerial move.

It could even be that Lawwell was the one who handed out the invitation in the first place in order to conduct a face-to-face with Trimboli over a fat new contract offer for his client, who is now days away from completing a domestic clean sweep at the end of his second season in Glasgow.

If that turns out to be the case - and Postecoglou was to put pen to paper on a bumper deal to stay - then Trimboli will have Celtic supporters buses being named after him throughout the close season. And yet, all the noises coming out of London, suggest Postecoglou’s pal has other plans in mind.

Postecoglou’s name has been on Levy’s list of potential new bosses ever since the decision to axe Antonio Conte was made at the end of March. And the more he has bungled the recruitment process, the higher up it has climbed.

So last week, when Feyenoord’s Arne Slot became the latest man to turn down Levy’s advances, Trimboli may well have sensed that the time was right to start upping the ante over Ange. Both Slot and Postecoglou share similar philosophies in terms of how they believe the game ought to be played.

They are more than just managers - they are creators of cultures - and if that’s what Spurs are looking for then, of course, it stands to reason that Postecoglou has become a person of such interest.

Of course, the fact that he is managing with outstanding success in the comparative blackwater of Scottish football may yet count in Celtic’s favour. There’s an instinctive snobbery where England’s Premier League is concerned and a natural inclination to believe that what goes on north of the border is rarely worth bothering about.

It’s staggering, for example, that Brendan Rodgers was regularly overlooked by Spurs while the Northern Irishman was rattling off one treble after the next during his time in charge at Parkhead.

And yet Rodgers is also among the runners and riders this time around, having recently lost his job when Leicester City pushed the relegation panic button.

It might make for an easier sale to the club’s supporters if an already established EPL manager is shoehorned into the position but the signs are that Spurs are prepared to be bold with this appointment.

And the fact that they have already been persuaded into appointing one Aussie to a key role more than suggests they have an open mind to exploring the marketplace Down Under.

The shrewd Postecoglou has certainly been giving nothing away, insisting in umpteen interviews over the weekend that his focus is solely on completing a domestic clean sweep in Saturday’s Scottish Cup Final against Inverness Caley Thistle.

And, with that in mind, somewhere up in the Highlands Billy Dodds may have felt his heart break a little bit over the weekend just past when the Celtic boss got back to business as usual by rolling out his first choice XI for the flag day visit of Aberdeen.

What followed was the kind of routine mauling which the champions have been dispensing with such savage regularity over Postecoglou’s two seasons at the helm. Caley’s best hope of pulling off a spectacular Hampden shock had surely been that Celtic’s flaky, end of season form might follow them to the national stadium.

But it was tossed aside like a bad habit during that five goal routing of Aberdeen and now the outcome of the end of season showpiece seems almost inevitable - at a moment in time when the future for Postecoglou remains anything but.


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