Sevconia is rapturous this morning, but as usual their timing stinks and their euphoria comes before the fact, before they know what the road ahead holds for them, before their own house is secure and they are safely in the Europa League Groups.
What a support theirs is. Forever looking outward, forever sneering as “enemies” flounder and flap but paying no attention whatsoever to what’s happening on their own doorstep.
I was not the only blogger yesterday from our side of the lines whose sole focus was on Celtic.
Phil and I have discussed this before; when Celtic is going through a period of internal strife it’s the only thing we put our minds to. One of the reasons Phil, myself and others seem to focus attention elsewhere at other times is that for the most part Celtic is a boring club to write about.
When we’re winning – which is most of the time, let’s face it – we will dole out the praise and we will be effusive in congratulating all involved, and when we sign players we write about that and when the club signs a big contract we give them the credit they are due.
But to cover this club on a daily basis, it can be difficult at times because we’re professional in most of the ways that count and there’s only so much you can write about an organisation that goes through its day to day business with all the excitement of a bowling club committee.
There’s just no … juice in it.
As writers we want to cover major stories, and it just so happens that this site has had plenty of those to focus on in the wider game here … and all those stories, of course, do have an impact on Celtic anyway. Sevco has an incredible ability to provide us with a never-ending stream of those kind of stories, and most of them are a pleasure to cover.
Because that club is an epic shambles.
When we write about them we usually do it from a secure spot. Our club has money in the bank, stability, success. We are the biggest club in Scotland and far and away the most professional run, the chaos of this last month notwithstanding.
When that chaos needed to be covered, the bloggers have covered it.
You never see corresponding reportage in the Sevco blogs when their club is careening down the tracks like a runaway train. They would rather ignore problems than confront them … and that causes those problems to grow and to multiply and what ails that club to spread.
None of the Peepul who are sneering at us today are doing so from a secure place. Their club has its own issues, and many of those issues are vastly greater than the ones we’re facing right now. Neil Lennon’s assertion that there are players at Celtic Park who’d rather be somewhere else didn’t come as a great shock to anyone … but from the media reaction you’d think those problems and issues were unique to our great club. They’re not though.
They have the same problem across the city, and it’s worse over there because if we had to sell our problem players tomorrow – if they made enough noise about wanting out – then we could find buyers for them quite easily, and for big money.
They can’t say that over there, can they? Because they’ve tried to and nobody is biting, not at the prices they are asking.
Sevco has at least two major first team stars that we know of who are itching to go and play for another club in another league, and neither can see an easy way out of Ibrox. Kent would go to Leeds at the drop of a hat if they were willing to meet his release fee and Morelos so loathes the manager and the manager so despises him that he wouldn’t care where he ended up just so long as Gerrard wasn’t going to pop up there one day on the coaching staff.
These are the stories the media is willing to acknowledge … but there are other undercurrents of resentment bubbling away over there, such as those in the dressing room who have no respect for the “leadership” of James Tavernier, and those who are so used to being whipped and scourged by Gerrard himself that they would cheerfully strangle him with a scarf.
Gerrard had lost the dressing room in January. Completely.
The global health crisis is the only thing that saved him from utter humiliation and the termination of his expensive Ibrox contract. What Neil Lennon did the other night was shocking because he’s always stood by his players and refused to be so publicly critical of them … Gerrard does that every week that his team doesn’t win, and last season that was eight times in the league out of 29 games. Even on those days when they did win – and a few times by a single goal – he often didn’t spare people.
Sevco’s glee at our European exit belies how serious their own situation is. Celtic fans, by and large, now acknowledge that a major player will go in this window because of that shocking result the other night, but there’s also a realisation that the board will have to invest further in the team if that happens, and indeed we need at least one player, in central defence, even if it doesn’t … we’ll see what our squad looks like when the window shuts.
But the truth is, although it’s a blow against Celtic our Champions League exit does not inflict a major, fall less mortal, wound. Not getting to the Europa League Groups would, for us, be a lot more serious a situation and then we’d need to make some major decisions about the squad which would not be popular but which most of us would agree were necessary.
If Sevco fails to reach those Groups, and our own exit shows clearly how precarious the single game format is for clubs, they are done for.
The finance gap was £10 million when their last published accounts were out.
Who knows that the size of the hole was last year?
We’ll find out when they finally get around to publishing last year’s figures, but they never bothered to put out half-yearly ones which suggests the annualised ones are going to be absolutely brutal.
Without fans in the grounds they were already facing a serious, serious risk of not completing the campaign. I cannot stress that enough times.
The suicidal decision to spend money they don’t have on players in the hope of bringing in more from sales which so far haven’t materialised was an act of lunacy that will haunt them all the way to the shallow grave they’ll be buried in if they go out of Europe early.
In that scenario every player at Ibrox will be available, for a knock-down sum, as their desperate need to plug the finance gap becomes critical. I use that word very deliberately; critical. Frankly, with the high probability that there will be no fans in the grounds for their European games I wonder just how serious the damage is going to be anyway.
Sevco fans can have their wee moment in the sun, but the issues which have swept over us like a tidal wave this week are like a child’s copy of the problems which already exist at their own club, and will be nothing compared to the tsunami that engulfs them should they suffer a similarly bad night in the rounds they have to navigate before the Groups.
As usual they are celebrating far too loudly and far too early.
They will be laughing on the other side of their faces before long.
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