CONTRARY to what you may have heard, Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic are not the reincarnation of the Brazil 1970 side. Nor are they the East End of Glasgow’s and football’s equivalent of the Harlem Globetrotters. But what they are, as well as being exciting and great to watch when at their free-flowing best, is relentlessly consistent.

They are consistent in the way they attempt to play the game. They are consistent in their approach to the non-negotiables; their tempo, their work-rate, their high pressing and their attacking principles. It is that consistency of method that has ultimately led to a near unfaltering level of consistent results, certainly at domestic level.

All of that comes from their manager. As well as possessing a huge personality that has unified all areas of the club behind him - from the stands to the dressing room and the boardroom too - his own and his team’s identity is clear, and he is unwavering in his commitment to maintaining that identity.

Could any of that be said of Giovanni Van Bronckhorst at Rangers?

There is a school of thought that results are all that matter in football, and particularly in Glasgow, it is only when you aren’t getting those results that concepts like identity and the manager’s presence are called into question. I’m not so sure that’s the case.

What seems apparent though is that when a manager on one side of the city does possess such qualities, and then backs up the belief he has imbued throughout the club with results, it draws the absence of such attributes on the other side of Glasgow into sharp focus.

By the time his short tenure at Ibrox had petered out, Van Bronckhorst hardly had his problems to seek. His squad was weaker than it was at the end of the previous season (we’ll address recruitment later on), and then had been decimated by injuries. Confidence was at an all-time low following the Champions League massacres that Rangers suffered.

But what he was also suffering from was the obvious comparisons that were being drawn between his own stewardship of Rangers and the leadership of Postecoglou at Celtic. And they were not at all favourable for Van Bronckhorst.

Postecoglou doesn’t rule by fear, but rest assured, he has an edge. And his players respect it. They know there is a line they cannot cross, and there is a standard in application and performance – day-in and day-out – that he expects. Furthermore, he will not accept any member of his squad failing to meet those standards.

As revelations have dripped out of the Rangers camp in the days since Van Bronckhorst’s departure around issues involving discipline in pre-season and concerns over the physical conditioning of the players, the picture being painted is that Van Bronckhorst was too nice for his own good.

Can you imagine anything approaching such disciplinary or fitness problems at Celtic under Postecoglou’s watch?

The closest that Van Bronckhorst came to putting his foot down was with Alfredo Morelos, who he side-lined for in favour of Antonio Colak for spells this season. And yet, the appalling and persistent lack of professionalism from Morelos was then tacitly excused by his manager as he brought him back into the fold for Champions League matches.

Had Morelos been a Celtic player and treated his own manager – and his own supporters – with such a flagrant lack of respect, there is not even a question over whether or not Postecoglou would indulge him. Of course he wouldn’t.

In the end, the Morelos situation was taken as another sign of Van Bronckhorst’s lack of backbone. Where Postecoglou appeared strong, Van Bronckhorst appeared weak. Where the Australian’s team was slick and pacy, the Dutchman’s was slow and ponderous.

Where Postecoglou had instilled a steely resolve that saw Celtic dig out results even when not at their best, or dealt with moments of adversity like the late Dundee United equaliser recently at Celtic Park, Van Bronckhorst’s Rangers looked unable to solve such problems, dropping points to Livingston, St Johnstone and St Mirren in short order.

On bigger picture issues too, such as recruitment, the remarkable strike rate of success Postecoglou has enjoyed in the transfer market – and how quickly most of those signings have made an impact – only exacerbated the dissatisfaction Rangers fans felt with their own summer dealings.

The blame for that does not fall on Van Bronckhorst alone, of course, and sporting director Ross Wilson has also taken his share of flak from the punters. But as the Celtic wingers continue to dazzle, for example, the likes of Rabbi Matondo have flattered to deceive.

On the other side of the attack, the sporadic impact of Ryan Kent brings us nicely to another area where Postecoglou’s success has highlighted a shortcoming of Van Bronckhorst. Where the Celtic manager has improved players who were already at the club when he arrived such as captain Callum McGregor and most notably, Anthony Ralston, key Rangers players such as Kent, James Tavernier and John Lundstram have seen a regression in performance levels this season.

So, while it was his own failings that were the biggest contributory factor to his sacking, each of them were underscored not only by the nine-point gap to Celtic at the top of the Premiership, but even more starkly because he was failing in areas where Postecoglou has excelled.

Van Bronckhorst and Postecoglou may have been friendly away from football, as much as any managers of Rangers and Celtic can be, but Postecoglou proved too formidable an enemy for Van Bronckhorst to overcome, and too lofty a comparison to live up to.