Today I got an email from Celtic telling me that general tickets for Thursday’s game are now on sale.
I wonder how many of them they’ve managed to shift? We’re now a week onward from Tuesday nights disaster and what’s happened since? We almost went to penalties in the League Cup at home to Dunfermline and we signed a 19 year old prospect.
We have a tough game on Thursday night, and is the squad stronger for it?
No, of course it isn’t.
No new signings, with the deadline for a “wild card” player just a day away.
And besides, we’re not going to sign someone the night before the game and throw him in with no chance to train with or meet the rest of the squad.
Once again, what time we had we squandered.
The club hasn’t made any effort to put us in the best position for going through, so why should the fans respond to that positively?
Because Peter Lawwell is a wonderful man, that’s why.
Have you noticed the number of editorials praising our CEO? This is the same media which takes shots at him whenever it can. Could it be that some of the people in the industry are perfectly happy having him in place right now? They are certainly going to bat on his behalf.
In the last seven days, we’ve heard how Celtic is moving to revamp the scouting process, clearly a story fed to them from inside Parkhead. But look at the reports and what’s actually happened here; Hammond is still on a temporary contract, so there’s nothing concrete there.
And if he’s being kept in post whilst they interview for possible successors that only begs the question that if following that process was good enough for the lead scout why didn’t we do the same with the most important job at the club, that of the manager?
It reeks of Lawwell, a short-term headline grabber which hasn’t been all the way thought through. I didn’t believe it the first time, and don’t believe it this time. And if it turns out to be true, then someone wants to ask about Scott Sinclair, who we handed a twelve-month contract extension but don’t appear to value.
Did we try to punt him only for him to refuse to go? Is that why he’s not in the manager’s plans, and consequences to the team be damned? Who really believes that Lewis Morgan looks good enough or ready on the left, or that Mikey Johnson can run a line by himself?
What a shoddy way we’re treating Sinclair, a player who’s given us so much in his time here. What a disgraceful scenario this is. Ibe is another Lawwell jam tomorrow promise from the club, another one that will never actually produce any jam.
And why are we wasting our time on a winger anyway when the glaring issues are still in defence?
Until that’s sorted everything else can wait.
Today it’s the story of how Celtic – which means Lawwell – is leading the way on Champions League reform.
This is the best story yet, and makes me laugh for a number of reasons. First, Lawwell has been appointed to a four-year term; this squashes one frequent theory I’ve heard put about, that he only intends to stay at Celtic until 10 in a row is secured.
Anyone who thinks Lawwell is voluntarily walking out of the most highly paid job he’s ever had or is ever likely to have is frankly off their nut, and this proves it beyond doubt.
Those who think we need to have a place at the top table in UEFA are correct, in one sense.
But clubs around that table know we don’t take Champions League qualification seriously. We don’t go after the right calibre of player or manager, we don’t spend enough money and the clubs who’ve knocked us out are a testament to that fact.
Besides, if you think that Lawwell is going to secure the changes Celtic needs you only have to look at the last set of proposals he “helped through” and trumpeted as being brilliant for the game here, those involving UEFA’s “third” competition, Europa League 2.
What a lot of people have failed to realise – because amidst the spin on Lawwell’s behalf none of the hacks thought to mention it at the time – is that although the winners of the SPL will still go into the Champions League – with a Europa League parachute – the club which finishes second in Scotland drops out of the Europa League entirely … and into the third tier of the European game. His briefings on Europa League reform never included that tit-bit did they?
And this means, of course, that his gamble with nine in a row is more dangerous than it looks; if we’re not the top team in Scotland we face serious structural problems in our very next campaign. We’ll be playing in European football’s basement … and that means cuts.
On top of that, are we really supposed to believe that our club will stand up against the most powerful vested interests in the sport on the continent … when this guy and the board have failed to secure any of the reforms the game needs right here at home?
Lawwell thinks we’ve failed to notice that he and the board at Ibrox have come to a grubby backroom influence sharing deal, that they take turns to hold seats on the SFA and SPFL executive committees, but we’ve not missed that or the implications of it; for some in our board it’s clear that they think Old Firm PLC is still ongoing.
Their problem will be when the inevitable happens and the current Ibrox operation crashes and they have to be seen to be doing something about it.
I’m moved to wonder just what good Lawwell has done us at the SFA and with all his globetrotting and hob-nobbing with Europe’s elite, even as the club’s standards on that level continue to plummet. They must laugh behind his back after results like last week.
His media lackeys are awfully impressed by stuff like this, but it’s a little harder to convince fans here, who watch this team slide backwards, and who have to listen to his bragging on how he gave Lennon the job without even bothering to interview or even consider other candidates.
We know who Lawwell is, and this picture the media sometimes paints, of some kind of genius solely responsible for all of our current success doesn’t come close to it.
If Lawwell wants to strut around the world pretending to be a visionary, then Celtic’s board should give him an emeritus position and let him get on with it.
In the meantime, we should replace him as CEO with someone cheaper, who knows the parameters of the job and who will let the football department get on with it, without sticking his nose in.