Date: 8th August 2019 at 12:33pm
Written by:

Today the Kieran Tierney saga will end with him signing for Arsenal.

I would be in two minds over this if I hadn’t already written that if it was going to happen this was the window in which it should.

Like the Dembele carry on, this one was dragged out way too long and way too much. Arsenal messed us about to the max here, but in the end will pay full whack.

Before going on, let me talk for a minute about the deceit at the heart of what Arsenal has spent this summer trying to do. They publicly claimed to have a transfer kitty of around £40 million … they did this so they could low-ball the Tierney offers.

What collapsed this farce was the ticking clock, which meant they had to spend far in excess of that on their other targets before they had agreed a fee with us.

We weren’t going to back down anyway, but it certainly helped us get our fee.

The club stood its ground on this one.

Don’t let anybody kid you on otherwise.

Celtic did not push Tierney out the door either.

Nor did we mess up the timing of the announcement.

Lennon wasn’t kept in the dark and if we’re going to criticise the board for banking the money and not backing the manager I don’t think it’s out of line to wait until they’ve actually failed to back the manager and trousered the money before we start beating them over it.

It is my understanding that the £25 million fee represents a clause in the player’s contract.

That means that we never had a say in this once that fee was met. The window closes today; it was Arsenal, not Celtic, who left it to the last minute to get there, and we were no more in control of that than Peter Lawwell can determine the direction the earth spins on its axis.

Some think Lennon sounded flat-footed after the game last night, because he wasn’t aware of what was going on with Tierney.

And you know what? I should hope he wasn’t.

Because Lennon was in the middle of a pretty big game, and it would have been an unwelcome distraction had the CEO run down to the dugout in the middle of the match and whispered it in his ear.

Hysterical claims that this insults the supporters, that we should “fear for the club”, that Lennon has been hung out to dry … I looked out the window this morning and the sky was not falling. Tierney has given us three years in the first team and his departure hurts, but it does not hurt.

The enormous sum of money coming our way will ease the pain somewhat, particularly as it gives Neil the chance to really put his stamp on the team in the way he truly wants.

Some of those singing songs of doom this morning are those who were most vocal in wanting Lennon in the first place.

They should have the faith in him that got us here. If they think he would let the board short-change him then we’ve truly witnessed a staggering volte-face from them at a time when many of us who had doubts are leaving them behind.

Lennon has surpassed my initial expectations.

The board’s backing of him has surpassed my initial expectations.

I expect to see real business done on the back of this, and with the English window about to close there are opportunities aplenty for us here … and we have the wherewithal to make the next three weeks count. If we qualify for the Groups our opportunity only grows.

It was always likely that there would be movement on the Tierney story today and I was not in the least bit surprised by it, and nor was I surprised that Tierney himself was flying down for signing talks at the very moment we were trying to secure the win.

This is the part that is most difficult for a lot of people to face; Kieran Tierney wants this move.

Kieran Tierney has made the decision that this is an opportunity he wants to explore, and although I was resistant to the facts at the time, it is my understand now that he would have gone last season – to Everton – had he not been talked round.

Kieran Tierney did not see his long term future at Celtic Park.

It’s tough to accept that, but believe me, I’ve gone through the five stages of grief here and I have come to the point where I do.

Because there is no evidence to refute it.

Because, in fact, all the available data supports that conclusion.

At any point in this whole saga he could have reiterated his commitment to the club and his wish to become a Celtic icon.

He never did, not once.

Kieran Tierney could have rocked the boat and demanded the transfer publicly or privately.

He never did, but that’s the best that can be said here. His silence on this spoke volumes.

Tierney would have been a wealthy man if he stayed.

He will be wealthier now that he’s decided to go.

Whilst I won’t hang him out to dry for that, I hope he will do us the good turn of sparing us any platitudes after the fact; he can stow all the “Celtic ‘til I die” stuff.

I’d rather not hear it from him, as I’d rather never again hear it from Rodgers.

Tierney could have joined the ranks of the Celtic all-time greats.

Three years does not make you a legend far less a club icon, and exiting stage left so close to the ten shows that it doesn’t mean as much to him as we all thought and hoped that it might. He joins the long line of people who gave our club less than what he professed to feel for it.

By 5 o’clock tonight this will be in the rear-view mirror and so will the player.

My concern – my only concern – is what we do with the money.

Based on the summer so far, I expect Lennon to get the bulk of it, to compliment what he’s already spent.

The board will not get away with failing to back him further, not with this pot of gold about to land.

And I will not criticise them for failure to do that until it’s clear that they’ve actually come up short.

There are three weeks to go and I expect them to be busy … and I expect us to be a lot stronger when it closes than we are right now … and right now we’re strong enough to win nine in a row by a country mile and look a good bet for the Champions League groups.

Look above you.

The sky is not falling, and last night we got a very big result.

Most important for me, the club is moving forward again as one. This time last year, uncertainty was in the air and there was a genuine feeling that we were in the midst of a crisis as signings failed to materialise and Rodgers and the board were openly at odds with one another.

There is no such turmoil at Parkhead right now.

The uncertainty this whole saga has caused will shortly be at an end.

£25 million will be winging its way to the bank before close of business today … and if Lennon gets it we’re all going to look back on last night, in months to come, and see it for what it was; a very important evening on the path towards ten in a row.

I’m a very contented Bhoy this afternoon.