Tom Boyd, Media Games & Differences Of Opinion

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Yesterday Tom Boyd appeared to call me a hysteric.

And not just me. A lot of Celtic fans.

Not directly, but to some that’s exactly what he did.

I won’t take it personall and neither should anyone else.

Because Tom Boyd loves Celtic and besides, I’ve been called worse.

This week, actually.

By more than one person.

But Boyd’s intervention means more than most, because I love Tom Boyd and always have. I wept watching him lift the League Trophy on the Day We Stopped The Ten and he’s been a hero of mine ever since.

He, to me, epitomises what being a Celtic fan is all about. He combines great love for our club with a fierce determination to fight on our behalf.

Over the years, Boyd has earned the title as a Celtic Ambassador, even before the role became formal this week. I could think of few people better, especially when you look across the city at the man Sevco put in a similar role not long ago.

Tom Boyd has always had courage, and he’s always spoken out and said what’s on his mind. How can you fault him for that? In January last year he broke with “convention” here in Scotland and went on the record to tell Scottish football what most of it already accepts and what all of it certainly knows; that Sevco is a new club and that Rangers is gone.

As if I didn’t love him enough. Amazing.

His latest major public statement was on the future of the manager Ronny Deila, and it was here that Boyd seemingly called myself and others hysterical. Sort of.

In truth, as the media well knows, Boyd wasn’t talking about me at all, or any of the other Celtic fans. He accused us of over-reacting. He accused the media of hysteria, and that, actually, isn’t something a whole lot of us would disagree with.

I thought he made some valid points with his statement yesterday.

The absolute last thing any club wants is to get a reputation for sacking managers on a whim.

But that’s not what anyone is proposing we do.

We’d also be mad to set the bar so high as to be demanding the treble every single year, as the minimum standard for a Celtic boss to meet.

Which is why not one Celtic fan who I know ever suggested that it should be.

But there’s a bigger picture here than whether we win the SPL or not, and quoting stats, as so many love to do, doesn’t offer the full measure of what’s going on at Celtic Park or of the malaise that’s got hold of us at every level, from the players up.

To give but one example, I am angry we went out of the League Cup, but I understand that things happen in football and you can’t win every match. I am not angry with the result as much as I’m angry with the absolute inevitability of that result the minute we ran into adverse circumstances. I am angry with the lack of passion, heart, fight, bottle and will to win there was, and is, in this team, and which we saw again at Pittodrie and far too often this season.

Tom Boyd himself has higher standards than that.

I suspect that he, too, would have been appalled at the abject way we simply rolled over in those games.

Tom also knows that we’ve gone, in a few short years, from taking on, and beating, Barcelona to finishing bottom of a Europa League group without a win. He isn’t unaware of the bigger picture and the circumstances of those defeats; of lessons not learned, of tactics not changed, of things not worked on.

I understand what Tom Boyd did yesterday, and I understand what it was that he said.

But I didn’t agree with some of it.

Other players who have given their all for Celtic are entitled to their opinions, just as he is, and the supporters are definitely entitled to theirs.

Do some people in the media go too far?

Of course they do, but that’s what we’ve come to expect from them, and we act accordingly in paying them no mind whatsoever.

There has been a lot of hysterical commentary in recent weeks, much of it thrown from one Celtic fan to another, with some amongst us accusing fellow fans of being on the “side of the enemy” and other such nonsense. If anything is unhealthy in all this it’s that.

Tom Boyd has always been a reasonable man, and he’s a smart one.

The media is trying to blow what he said up into a controversy, claiming he’s attacked Celtic supporters.

Tom Boyd did no such thing.

He simply asked that we all calm down a little, that we consider these things in a measured, responsible, way.

And, I think in his own way he was asking that we remember who the real enemy is.

The best thing we can take from his contribution is to examine our own behaviour – yes, me included –  and tone it down a little. That we treat each other, and each other’s opinions, with a modicum of respect and discuss these issues – and they need to be discussed; they are big issues, affecting not just this season but the foreseeable future – with cooler heads.

Those of us who have decried the absence of a leader at our club got one yesterday.

Boydy has always been one, and even when I don’t agree with him I will always respect him.

We’re in a fight to the finish this year.

That fight is not with one another.

Let’s try to remember that as we go forward.

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