Archie McPherson is the last of the greats.
They don’t make them like this guy anymore, a seasoned pro who is brilliant as a commentator, analyst and as a writer. He has more talent in his pinkie than almost all our current crop of third rate hacks and pretenders do in their whole bodies. McPherson is a giant amongst the pygmies.
But even this titan is not always correct, and when he gave an interview this weekend where he talked about the quest for ten in a row and how all this focus on it demeans the achievements of Stein he could not have been more wrong.
I’ve written here before about how some voices in the media are determined to do all they can to devalue what it is we’re on the brink of here. McPherson’s article is another way of doing just that. Oh he might be putting it in more flowery language and delivering it in a smoother voice, but the message was the same, and the argument just as unsustainable.
He speaks as the man who wrote the definitive biography of Stein, which is a quite wonderful read and is so heartfelt you know McPherson idolised the guy.
But he has no call to consider himself the guardian of Stein’s legacy, simply because Jock Stein’s legacy needs no guarding and needs no rousing defence.
For openers, nobody is saying what these guys have done is the equal of what the Lions did, or what Stein did as a manager.
For starters, Stein has the longest unbroken string of success in the history of Celtic and that will never be equalled. Our nine has been achieved with three managers and four managerial tenures. The small matter of a European Cup makes what he did the highest point in our club’s history, no exceptions.
But Stein’s teams never won a Double Treble either, far less the Treble Treble or the Quadruple one we’re going for right now.
They never went through an entire domestic campaign unbeaten; it was Dundee Utd who deprived that of that honour in 1967.
I think what’s really petty and small minded is to deny our team their own due credit and respect, which is what McPherson is actually doing here, whether he realises that or not. This Celtic team is formidable in its own way, and that he has resorted to that old standby about the poor standard of the opposition really isn’t creditable either.
Yes, the Lions played at a time when Scottish football was riding high, but why does that matter?
Are we to feel bad because we’ve continued to be successful whilst standards have slipped elsewhere?
Guess what; European football has changed. World football has changed.
There were no super-clubs back then either, but we get no credit for our successes because they were achieved against “poor” opposition, even as we get slaughtered because we can’t match the Barcelona’s and Inter Milan’s and Real Madrid’s as we used to?
Someone needs to get his story straight, I think.
Our club has still maintained a remarkable level of consistency.
To pretend we’ve played without pressure of any kind is ridiculous; there is pressure with being the biggest club in the land. There is pressure with trying to win games and beat teams week in week out, and to going on that incredible unbeaten run in the cup where one slip and it’s over.
Stein’s team did something no club in this nation has done since or might ever do again, but this team has done things that no club in this nation has before or might ever do again … and McPherson may not have intended to scorn that and those players and those achievements, but he does so just the same and that saddens me because he’s better than that.
The CelticBlog faces many challenges going forward. If you like what we do, please subscribe and never miss another article. If you’re on Facebook, join us on our Facebook Group or share us on yours, if you’re on Twitter remember and re-tweet all our work.