One of the things that was noticeable last night was that the backroom team, the coaching staff, finally appeared to be communicating better. Over the last few weeks we’ve been treated to the miserable sight of these guys ignoring each other or sitting beside one another in morose silence, instead of interacting and working as a team.
Those of us who keep our ears close to the ground know there are issues at Lennoxtown.
Forget all the smooth-talking or soft writing which suggests otherwise. Celtic fans are not stupid and not every rumour is to be casually dismissed.
Where there’s smoke there sometimes actually is a fire, in spite of that being an over-used cliché.
Besides, we can most certainly trust the evidence of our own eyes and the lack of love between Neil Lennon and his coaches has been evident for a while. This is what happens you don’t let a manager pick his own people; you are asking for trouble.
A football club doesn’t just disintegrate for no reason. Something has clearly gone badly awry at Celtic, and there is never only one cause for something like that. The breakdown in communication between the manager and his assistant is definitely one element of it.
To see them chatting last night, seemingly co-operating, was interesting.
So what changed in the last week or so? What has sparked this sudden emergence of team spirit amongst our coaching staff? Stripped down to the roots I will tell you what I think it is; these guys have realised they have no other options.
This isn’t going to be a beautiful meeting of minds or anything; it’s more like a marriage of convenience to be honest.
But some of those work out just fine. Both parties make them tolerable and workable. Dressing rooms the world over are filled with people who don’t get on, but great teams have been built in spite of that because one thing matters above all … success.
For our coaches it’s more than that. For ages now, rumours have surrounded Kennedy and the role the club sees him playing in the future. A lot of people feared that if Lennon went we would end up with the assistant in a stand-in capacity.
The last few times we’ve tried that at Celtic Park the stand-in has ended up with the job.
That’s what many thought would happen in this case.
But the anger surrounding the club these last few weeks has stunned those inside Celtic Park, and they know that the idea is not going to fly. For good or ill, right or wrong, Kennedy is seen as Lawwell’s creature and it doesn’t matter if he’s not … perception is reality and the board will find appointing him an impossible sell.
It would spark fury and the hit to the season ticket sales for the next campaign would be absolutely momentous.
The club is going to need to drastically re-align and a John Kennedy coronation is not going to do that. If Lennon goes, he goes. If he goes, Strachan goes too. The whole backroom team will have to fall on the same sword, and the next manager will be trusted to rebuild it.
This is the end of an era at the club. All the old certainties are going to be swept aside.
A lot of people’s assumptions about the future no longer apply. These guys all have their heads on the block at the same time, and if one goes they all go, and of course the simple truth of it is that none of them will survive to be here next season.
These guys all have their next career move to think about, and if this ship sinks then it goes down with all hands.
Nobody is leaping off the starboard bow wearing a lifejacket here.
Failure will be owned as a collective, and if these guys are all bitching each other out as it flounders then that’s going to follow all of them for a long, long time.
The story of how this season went wrong will be written in the blood of those responsible; their time at Celtic Park is almost over.
For some of them it’s too late to write anything positive; Lawwell will leave a much reduced figure from the one who has strutted through Scottish football this past decade.
His reputation amongst our supporters will be toxic. His tenure will be remembered for his interference, his arrogance, his smug complacency and a host of bad calls. It will be remembered for the way he clashed with Rodgers and then blew the appointment that lost ten in a row.
Others can salvage a scrap of their reputations.
If our backroom team suddenly seem capable of working as a team it’s because that’s the only way you dig your way out of the deep shit.
Because otherwise you all choke on it.