There was a lot going on this weekend above and beyond the football. Celtic might not have turned up for business like they meant it on Saturday, but that’s by-the-by. The manager gave one of his spikiest press conferences in a while, when he said that he hadn’t been happy with the performance. He said it was one of the few games since he arrived where he really thought our players were far below their usually high standards.
There was no hysteria about the defeat. We were beaten by a side that simply played better on the day, and that will happen from time to time. Everyone at Celtic handled themselves with dignity and class in the aftermath; they are in training today where they’ll look over the game and what went wrong and simply turn their attentions to the next one.
This is how we do things. There are no dressing room brawls and nobody above the manager’s office weighing in on what the board expects. You never hear anything from our board on that front. Everything is done in-house, professionally. If there was an issue over performances or results that information would be imparted to one man, Brendan Rodgers, by the people above him. There would be no briefing through the media or any such nonsense.
I tell people all the time that I don’t write as much about Celtic as I sometimes seem to do about the basket case of assets across the city because our club is boring by comparison. There’s only so many ways you can say “wow, aren’t we something?” before people have heard it all before. We simply do not generate the same volume of news as a club that spins relentlessly from one crisis to another. We are professionally run, by professionals.
But Sevco isn’t even the only club I look at in Scotland and wonder what the Hell is going on. I may not like Rob Petrie at Hibs now that he’s firmly shoved a knife in Lawwell’s back but that club runs right. Kilmarnock has veered between various modes of shambles in the past, but their current board seems to know its business. Other teams … not so much.
Aberdeen persist with a serial loser in the dugout. That’s one thing. Milne himself is at loggerheads with his own fans over the need for Scottish football reform. But it’s nothing compared to the situation at Hearts, where Levein choose himself for his current role and Budge protects him in spite of insipid, frankly gutless, displays like yesterday.
Levein’s problem is that he was told once, by somebody, that he was the dogs nuts and has spent the rest of his life believing it. Budge’s problem is that, by her own admission, she doesn’t understand football and thus seems to believe it as well.
Yet the issues at Hearts are minor compared to what happened this weekend in Dundee, where Neil McCann behaved in what was, quite frankly, the most unprofessional manner I have ever seen from a manager. His public, advertised, snub to Tommy Wright was scandalous and makes the whole club look pitifully small and nasty minded. Wright himself said he felt welcomed by the directors, but if so it would have been better for them had they gotten a grip of the wretched individual who masquerades as their first team coach.
One would hope that Motherwell have grown up, as a club, in advance of the Scottish Cup Final, after our League Cup success sparked a month of gurning and moaning and whining in the media which Sevco would have been proud of.
In the meantime, Celtic soldiers on. The club held its player of the year awards last night and there must have been a lot of regret that they were not already celebrating being crowned seven in a row champions. Yet in spite of that I am betting the mood was still high; there’s a game on Sunday after all, and one I bet they can’t wait for.
But nobody is banging the drum over that. There are no big-talking predictions out of Celtic Park. But one Sevco player has already run to the press and said his team is going to win. The manager is talking about the club have bonded again – over a narrow victory against a useless Hearts team. And so this is how the week will go.
Professional silence from Celtic … and white noise from elsewhere.
That’s why we’re champions.
(One of the reasons anyway.)
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