Celtic’s Interests Can Best Be Served Right Now By Sticking With The Guy We’ve Got.

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One of my favourite quotes from the TV show ‘The West Wing’ comes from Leo McGarry when he tells a Presidential candidate that “you’ve got to dance with the one what brung you”.

By this, he means that sometimes have to stick with what – or who – you know, even if you would perhaps prefer to not do so.

Cards on the table, Neil Lennon back as manager on a permanent basis was my absolute last choice.

On the night he was appointed, my remark to a friend was that “we might look back on this as the night we cost ourselves Ten”.

Equally there have been numerous times in recent weeks where my view has been that he should go, not least after the Ross County and St Johnstone games.

And this should be his final season as Celtic manager, however it ends up finishing.

But it’s now increasingly my position that Neil Lennon should see out the full season.

The chaos of recent weeks belies the fact that Celtic still have the chance to witness a momentous and historic season.

Next Sunday carries the prospect of an unprecedented quadruple treble, something which will surely never be equalled.

And despite the league advantage currently being enjoyed by the Ibrox side, the title is not yet gone.

One slip from them and suddenly the gap will not seem as daunting, although this may also require a Southside win for Celtic in a few weeks.

And of course this will also involve Celtic putting together a long and interrupted winning run; there is no margin for any further error.

Such occurrences may seem unlikely – the bookies clearly cannot foresee this turn of events – but that was also the case at the start of 2020.

Celtic’s last two games have offered more than just the green shoots of recovery, they have returned a sense of stability to the club.

It is to be hoped that this is truly the end of the bad spell, with only optimism now evident down the road.

But what if this does not turn out to be the case?

A Scottish Cup Final defeat or any more dropped league points and the mood at Parkhead is likely to once more turn ugly.

Even in that case, perhaps Lennon should still remain in post.

If we do fall any further behind in the league, the Ten is clearly gone. It is already a challenge, which may become an impossible dream in such circumstances.

Any replacement will surely find it unattainable to deliver the mother of all comebacks.

So the Board would have two choices: a short term appointment (someone like Martin O’Neill or Gordon Strachan) or rushing into the permanent choice of someone unlikely to inspire the fans.

This current Ibrox side – whether or not people choose to believe it – is a very effective team.

Their performances in Scotland are clear evidence, and winning their Europa League group further burnishes this claim.

Overcoming them – especially if they get access to Champions League money – will not be an easy task.

The type of manager who needs to be at Celtic if this is to be quickly achieved is simply not going to be available in late December, and unlikely before next summer.

In which case, what is there to be achieved by getting rid of the manager?

Bringing in a new chief on a temporary basis will unsettle the players even more, ahead of a further switch being made in mid-2021.

In the scenario that the league truly was gone the lesser of two evils may be to see out the season unchanged, albeit with regrets at what might have been.

Summer would then be a time for wholesale reform, and not just in the managerial dugout.

But for now, hope is what remains; that 2021 can still be a decisive year in Celtic and Scottish football history.

If that occurs, the celebrations will certainly be a sight to behold (not least if it is matched by an end to the COVID crisis).

And for anyone unsure of who they should sway and celebrate with?

Enter Neil Francis Lennon, first choice or not.

After all, you’ve got to dance with the one what brung you.

Matthew Marr is a Celtic fan and blogger originally hailing from Dundee. He is a CelticBlog regular.

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