The jersey shrinks to fit inferior players after all it seems.
Probably no other article I write this year is going to be as controversial and divisive as this one, and I’m going to tell you right now that I find it odd having to write that because Boyata was done in the eyes of every Celtic fan I know only a week ago.
Done. Game over. Never pulling on a jersey again.
So if you were in that camp and you’re now in the camp that’s going to have a pop at me over writing this, your argument better be a good one.
Some are already saying “trust the manager.”
Well, for sure, the manager has made this call, and he will live with it.
He has weakened Celtic today, perhaps not on the pitch but he has.
There’s no other way I can put it.
I don’t know what point he was trying to make fielding Boyata, I don’t know what objective he was trying to secure – I’ll get to the “three points” argument in a minute. But I do know we’re lesser now than we were before Boyata’s name appeared on the team-sheet.
A week ago the sin was unforgivable.
A week later the ends justify the means.
Our fans give everything to the club. Fans of all club’s do. We do not ask much for that, only that everyone who is entrusted with a jersey justifies it with effort and commitment. Some will not be up to the job, but as long as they try to do that job they deserve our respect.
Boyata has been in hiding for weeks.
Are people forgetting that? Why else would you forgive him for it?
This is Sevco fans, drooling over Lafferty.
Stop trying to pretend the situation is different.
This is a guy who was sitting on his backside, on strike, over not getting a move, showing appalling disloyalty, whilst other players were sweating in Athens.
This guy was received warmly by some of our fans today, this guy who has not signed a new contract, who’s agent has said is happy to wind down his deal, this guy who might not even be here in a week. This guy who has done nothing to deserve such loyalty.
The Celtic fans are good people. I always knew it.
But there’s no exceptionalism in behaving just like every other mug football fan in the country, the sort of people who forgive players for anything as long as they have the shirt on. The Lafferty comparison is wholly valid, and some of the comments praising the manager for selecting this joker today are from the same people who have spent the week flaying Jack Hendry, who was there in Athens and has shown his willingness to fight for the cause.
How quickly we turn on some of our own when it suits us, whilst giving respect to others who have not earned it. Who have, in fact, betrayed our trust and thrown it back in our faces. Boyata should never have pulled on a Celtic shirt again, and long after the result today has become nothing but a memory this will be the day we gave away another little piece of ourselves, rewarding a mercenary footballer who even now has no loyalty to us at all.
We’ve told every player in the squad that their ultimate loyalty should be to themselves. We now have no complaint if the Dembele’s and Ntcham’s clamour for their own moves and use whatever means are at their disposal to get them.
All this was today was a show of weakness, because we’re short at the back.
We’ve compromised our pride and our principles for a match against Hamilton.
I am not just saddened by this decision, I am sickened by it.
There’s no sugar coating it for me.
No result is worth it.
This is not a day I’ll be looking back on with any satisfaction whatsoever.
As most of you will be aware, I posted this at half-time, before Boyata scored what turned out to be the only goal of the game. I was asked if I felt like I’d made a fool of myself; I think some people expected me to retract this piece and join the chorus welcoming him back to the fold. Sorry to disappoint them, but I stand by every single word and that so many people are celebrating his contribution to a league match which very likely will have no real bearing on our season is astounding to me. If you believe in something, if something’s important, if it’s a point of principle, you take a stand, and you hold to it. You don’t sway in the prevailing wind. That’s what our club did today, for the sake of three points in the SPL. Boyata is unfit to wear the shirt, and no number of goals will change my mind on it.