Yesterday, Pedro Caixinha arrived in Glasgow to start his new job and no sooner was he in a seat in front of the media but he took a swipe at Celtic. I expected that, but not the manner of it. He had to do something to stem the waves of suspicion amidst the hard-core of the Sevco support who wanted one of their own in the manager’s seat and so some expression of loyalty to his new club, some kind of nod to their support, was the least he was going to do.
But it was a little awesome to watch, because instead of taking a cheap and easy one he went for overkill instead.
There was no single, forensic shot here.
He came at us with a grenade launcher and started firing volleys of projectiles.
This was supposed to rile us, I think. To read some of the websites (not the Celtic ones but those generic crappy ones which put up clickbait headlines and have articles 100 words long) and the media outlets you’d think he had trolled us magnificently. Instead his comments left me open-mouthed in amazement, for the second time that day (King’s contribution to my Monday cannot be overstated, I laughed my ass off).
Now, I don’t know who handed Caixinha his “copy” for the press conference yesterday.
I don’t know who scripted it for him.
I believe someone had to have, and it’s automatically clear that the dark suspicions some of us have harboured over this appointment are accurate; this guy is being used as a place holder to sell season tickets and buy the directors time.
Time for what? I don’t know, because the walls are closing in around them today as King’s tenure on the board enters its final 30 day period.
I really do believe he’ll be gone by mid-April.
But Caixinha will be lucky to last until Christmas. The size of his misjudgement is colossal. He sat in front of the media yesterday with a smile on his face like that of someone who’s just bought the Brooklyn Bridge from an a guy in a local Italian coffee shop.
He was taking over the biggest team in Scotland, he said.
A scripted line which was exactly the nod and the wink to the gallery you’d have anticipated. But what came next was so unexpected that all other talking in the room ought to have ceased at once and brought silence down like a hammer on an anvil.
He said he had the best squad in the country.
And that’s when I knew.
Not a single person in the media has highlighted the suicidal nature of those remarks, or queried where that line came from.
The best squad in the country? Is he for real?
It doesn’t really matter now, because that’s out there. It’s on the record. So too is his “objective”, to win second place and the Scottish Cup. Was he fed those lines or did he come up with them himself? Inquiring minds want to know, because that’s important. That’s news either way.
If he came up with them himself then we’re looking at a guy here who’s made a ludicrous claim about his team – and an extraordinarily arrogant one – without having seen them play a sustained number of games. He’s dismissed every other club in the country, including the one sitting at the top of the league by more than 30 points.
That mind-bending ignorance shows a dangerous lack of understanding and a complacency which should shock Sevco fans rather than amuse them.
And even that is better than the alternative, that he was fed and repeated them like a smirking glove puppet with Jim Traynor’s hand up his jacksie. Because then he actually is being set up for the fall and the board knows it.
King is flying in, to speak with him for the first time this week. Marvel at that for a moment. The club’s alleged chairman has yet to have a conversation with their new manager. Just try and imagine Celtic or any other club being run in such a way. Dermott Desmond had a number of high level meetings with Brendan before he was appointed … and Dermott Desmond isn’t our chairman at all but our majority shareholder. Our board sat down with Brendan for extensive chats before he got the job and have continued to meet regularly with him since.
This meeting is about meeting the new man and giving him his transfer budget … allegedly. I suspect it’s more about starting to lay the ground for King’s imminent departure Stage Left before the brown stuff really hits the fan. But I also think there will be budget talks.
And what will they amount to?
He’ll get pennies.
Because this is one of three things; he either knows the club is skint and that those players are all he has to work with next year so is boosting their confidence whilst he can, or the board lied to him and gave him those lines and he repeated them without thinking or he simply stumbled into this minefield on his own.
Either way, a guy claiming to have “the best squad in Scotland” will have no justification for demanding big money to overhaul it.
If he hasn’t twigged – and the Sevco fans haven’t twigged – before then, it’s wake up time.
He said those words.
They are on the record.
It does not matter if they are PR firm cobblers or the manager’s own. They are out there. They cannot be retracted or rolled back. This guy has been in the job less than 24 hours and he’s already out of alibis. The best squad. Targeting second and a cup.
He’s told the watching horde he doesn’t need a big budget or to overhaul the team.
Hubris? Nonsense? I’ll tell you what it wasn’t; it wasn’t infuriating.
It wasn’t scary.
It didn’t provoke anger amongst Celtic fans.
Instead we saw a guy put his own head in the noose.
It was an extraordinary moment in what had already been an extraordinary day.