Last night, I read the latest ex-Celtic player to weigh in on the current crisis at the club.
It was Craig Gordon, and the report was a transcript a recent interview with BBC Radio Scotland talking alongside an ex-Ibrox player who knows the sum total of nothing about what goes on inside our club’s walls.
Gordon’s complaint centre on two things; the “gradual erosion” of the Invincible team and the fact we’ve not brought in replacements quickly enough. Right there is the type of contradiction which is commonplace amongst the Monday Morning Quarterbacks.
To be blunt, they talk crap. We’ve either replaced too many people in the Invincible team or we haven’t replaced enough of them. Gordon thinks it’s both, which it can’t possibly be.
The problem with Gordon’s attempted analysis is twofold.
First, every team goes through a process of evolution.
Every club is a constant state of evolution, and Celtic is no different. You can’t criticise a club for changing up the personnel. It happens. What you can criticise them for is getting the changes wrong, which Gordon is doing but only in part.
Secondly, his critique is based on the idea that the players we did bring in needed time to “understand” the club and to “get it.”
This is arrant nonsense, and too many people believe it.
The fact is, this has got nothing to do with players not understanding the significance of ten in a row.
Say to any player coming into a club that the fans regard it as an historic year, chasing an historic achievement, and that player will understand all he has to know.
He doesn’t have to “get it” he simply has to have the desire to win every game he plays.
Lennon has talked this same nonsense, and he, too, has contradicted himself more than once on it.
If you listen to Lennon sometimes, the problem is that too many people in the team “get it” and that the pressure is collapsing them like a house of cards. Lennon is talking crap as well, but it’s one of many excuses that he’s deploying in his own defence.
We have a squad which was more than adequate to meet the challenges of this campaign.
For me, that’s the bottom line.
We’ve dropped points, and lost matches, to teams we should have seen on our road … Lennon bears the full responsibility for the bad results. This squad is more than capable of beating the likes of St Mirren, Ross County and Livingston on a regular basis.
Even if half the team wants away, a good manager should be able to hold the dressing room together in a way that gets us through a history making season … the fault for all this lies with him.
It is Neil Lennon who has proved to be not up to the job.
If anyone has cracked under the pressure of ten in a row, it’s him and this is one of the reasons I always thought it was sheer folly to bring him back to the club.
I didn’t want someone in charge who would get wrapped up in all the nonsense of this campaign … I wanted a dispassionate professional who’d focus on winning one game at a time, as Rodgers preached over and over again to the teams in his charge.
Too many people are engaged in this weird search for answers as to how this season collapsed on us, but all the evidence – which many of them are ignoring – points to bad coaching and bad decision making by the manager and his staff.
That’s the root cause. That’s where our troubles stem from.
Don’t forget that one of the early crisis points came about because Lennon played the wrong team against Ferencvaros and then blamed the players in the immediate aftermath of the game.
Since then he has assailed them constantly for their mentality and their professionalism – scandalous charges to level against footballers, many of whom had played their role in that Invincible team and the success that followed it.
He dynamited his own dressing room.
People like Gordon are scrambling around in the dark, putting their hands on things they can’t see and trying to guess what they are. All you have to do is flip on the light switch and everything becomes clear; once the manager changes everything will.