Today Ronny Deila rounded on the people he thinks are responsible for mounting disquiet in the Celtic Park stands.
He blamed the press. He’s not alone.
Some of our supporters think it’s the media’s fault we’re so poor.
They think it’s the fault of people like me too.
I don’t like our media. That’s not a secret.
I think some of them are useless, others lazy and more yet simply biased with agendas against our club. But even a broken clock is right twice a day and these people and their industry aren’t always wrong. The criticism is deserved, even if talk of Celtic being in crisis is overblown cobblers.
The reason I think the board should act now is that it forestalls a crisis before it has a chance to engulf us.
We’re currently top of the table, in two cup competitions and are the team to bet on when you claim the promo code.
I want to keep it that way.
But I’m also looking ahead to next season, and Europe, with no confidence at all.
If we get there, in this state, with this approach, we will be in crisis and out of alibis.
If we should fall behind Aberdeen and look like we’ll struggle, it will engulf us.
I understand why he’s pissed, and hitting out. But the more he does it, the more he acts like a guy under pressure and for all myself and others have written, and for all the media has said, he isn’t that, not yet.
He almost certainly retains the confidence of the board – although how much that’s the case won’t be known until the transfer window opens.
Frankly, they have a big decision to make.
If they believe in the guy, if they genuinely do, they need to give him the cash to bring in the players who will get this club to the appropriate level.
If they have doubts they need to think very carefully about the next move, because allowing him to sign more players in those circumstances is throwing good money after bad.
To be fair to him, Ronny isn’t the one constantly telling the press how he needs a bunch of new players to be confident of winning the title.
It’s the manager across the city who constantly exhibits that particular behavioural tic, and a guy whose budget dwarfs that of his nearest rivals by a factor of six or seven to one shouldn’t be behaving like that.
If I were a Sevco fan I’d be grievously concerned at his lack of faith in the current squad and in his own ability to get the best out of them.
Give Ronny this much; he has no self-doubts on that score.
More interesting to me was the implied criticism of the bloggers that comes across in his remarks, and it’s this that I want to talk about a little bit.
See, if there’s an area where I do have a little sympathy for his position, and feel a little stab of guilt, it’s in that area.
Because Ronny, and Neil Lennon before him, and to a lesser degree Tony Mowbray and Gordon Strachan, are in the uncomfortable position of being the first Celtic bosses of the New Media generation, and the latter too especially.
This level of scrutiny is unlike anything that has ever existed before, and football bosses aren’t the only people wilting under it. Look at our political class and the lamentable wailing some of them did over public anger at their decision to vote to drop bombs on Syria.
It was as if they suddenly discovered there were Other People Out There.
24 hour scrutiny is now the norm, and not just from the press.
Is it fair?
Christ, in many ways no it’s not. There’s a petition, online right now, to have Ronny Deila sacked.
He’s the first manager in our history ever to encounter something like that from his own supporters and that’s a new kind of pressure, one no-one should be under.
On top of that, websites, like this one, and writers, like me, most of whom have never in their lives as much as stepped onto an actual club football pitch far less actually experienced team management – computer game versions don’t count – now routinely pontificate on tactical decisions, team selections and transfer policy as if we were experts on all these things.
Every bad decision gets highlighted somewhere, by somebody, and there’s not enough ink in the world to cover even one weekend of commentary on the forums.
The pressures of the Celtic job are unique to the last few incumbents of the manager’s office, and that definitely isn’t fair, and it’s been hard on them.
But it’s the way things are now, and people in the game (and some of those professions outside it) better get used to it right quick because it’s forever.
In the end, those who can hack it will dig in and grow a thicker skin.
Those who can’t will gravitate towards gentler professions.
So, sympathy, yes, to a certain extent.
But here’s the thing; the poor performances the team is producing at the moment aren’t my fault, or the fault of anyone on Twitter and no petitioner ever scored or prevented a goal.
If he can tell me how my shutting up would improve the team, or how my closing down the blogs would improve the central defence I’ll tell you what; I’ll do it tomorrow.
I’ll stay offline until the improvement is so profound and we’re so far ahead of the competition that it’ll no longer matter what I write or say.
If criticism is really what’s caused this malaise then I promise to do my bit to end it.
Otherwise, this was the manager, and the captain, taking a shot at an easy target, and there’s no easier one than the media, and I say that as someone with no love for that industry at all.
One last thing;
The media is spinning it that Scott said we’d go through the rest of the season unbeaten … he absolutely, positively, said nothing of the sort.
This is one of the reasons so few Celtic fans believe a thing they read from these people.