Just the other day, after Kieran Tierney had played brilliantly for Scotland against the Netherlands, the player himself was interviewed by the media, and he gave an interesting assessment on his career at our club thus far.
Others have given Brendan most of the credit for the way in which they’ve become stars at the club … Kieran gave some to another boss.
It was one of the first public acknowledgments from inside our squad that a lot of the credit for where we are today belongs to those who came before our current manager. Kieran thanked Ronny Deila. I would go further back.
We are where we are today thanks to Brendan, Ronny and also Neil Lennon.
They all did their bit. They all deserve our praise.
Sevco is wracked by fear and self-doubt right now. People talk about Caixinha’s term there being a mess as if this was an isolated incident in an otherwise unblemished string; in fact, Sevco has never had a decent manager in its short, pitiful history.
McCoist was the last remnant of Rangers’ demise and his appointment there was a catastrophe. Keeping him in post for three more years, on an eye watering salary, was about as stupid a decision as has ever been made in our game. It set them back years. It cost them millions. It utterly destroyed his chances of ever having a managerial career.
The interim appointment of Stuart McCall was designed to give them a shot in the arm and propel them into the SPL. It, too, was an abject decision, rewarded with the disaster that it deserved. He flopped in spectacular fashion, as the twin defeats against Motherwell demonstrated amply. That consigned them to another year floundering in the Championship.
Warburton was good enough to win that league but he was out of depth in the SPL and his expensively assembled team lurched from one crisis to another. The denouement came at Tynecastle where they were thrashed by Cathro’s Hearts.
Pedro was a hilarious mistake, of epic proportions. His appointment was a joke, and for the entire duration of his time there the joke was on the Sevco fans and those who hired him. It was an expensive folly, but no more so than their other costly mistakes.
Celtic has had relative stability in that time.
Neil Lennon would not have been my choice as boss, but after Tony Mowbray he set himself one target; “bringing back the thunder.” And he succeeded. The Celtic support got behind him. He crafted an exciting team; it was those above him at the club who ultimately failed, when they allowed that team to be dismantled.
A more experienced boss than Neil might have fought that; Brendan most certainly will not allow this team to be sold from under him. But Neil didn’t have that clout, not there, not at that point. He has become a better manager away from Parkhead, I think; he is certainly more sure of himself and where he sees his career going.
Neil gave us back a club that we could believe in.
He returned the passion to the stands. He reformed that link between the team and the fans, in the manner of Tommy Burns. He made some mistakes in his signings, but you wondered how much of the policy he followed was his own. Certainly, we made huge profits on player trading whilst he was boss.
His appointment was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a mistake far less a disaster.
He secured the first of our titles. He blooded some of this current team.
Ronny was different.
Ronny never established that link with the fans, but he did things behind the scenes which stood Brendan in good stead. He was desperately, horribly, unlucky not to win a treble; a piece of refereeing about as appalling as any we’ve ever seen is what robbed him of a place in the final I am certain we would have won.
He delivered two titles and Kieran was not his only discovery.
I thought his signings tended to be good, with a few exceptions. One of the best was the purchase of Armstrong, who has come on leaps and bounds but was always going to be a top talent. He saw the value of Tom Rogic. He signed Sviatchenko and Simunovic.
But he also changed something of the culture of the club. He rebuilt the training regimes. He brought in the dieticians and the performance teams. He brought a distinctly European ambience to the backroom and to what happened at Lennoxtown.
He was talking about professional footballers being athletes before Brendan was heralded for that.
Tony Mowbray was a bad managerial appointment, arguably the worst since Lou Macari. But the two who followed him were builders. Brendan is too, but more; he’s also a consolidator. The club is where it is today because of these Three Good Men.
The next Sevco boss will inherit ashes. He will have to work with the disastrous mistakes made by his predecessors. He will have to live with the wreckage they have wrought on every single part of the club. He is on a hiding to nothing before he even starts.