Ibrox Sees Lawwell’s Departure As A Win, But Celtic Can Be Stronger Than Ever.

Image for Ibrox Sees Lawwell’s Departure As A Win, But Celtic Can Be Stronger Than Ever.

Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most significant events in history was the assassination of Julius Caesar on 15 March 44BC.

This most famous of political murders was supposed to safeguard the Republic and free it from the yoke of tyranny; it had the opposite effect.

Within a couple of years, every single one of those involved in the plot was dead.

The Republic they had murdered him for was split between three strongmen; Octavian, Mark Antony and Marcus Lepidus.

Within a few years of that, Rome was ruled by Octavian alone and the imperial age had begun.

Caesar’s assassins hadn’t just failed … they had replaced a powerful, dictatorial figure with one even more ruthless and terrible.

I read, with great amusement, a couple of weeks ago, as the tributes to Peter Lawwell poured in. Amidst it all was this idea that we had lost an irreplaceable figure, that a great part of Celtic’s strength would be departing with him.

There are a lot of people inside and outside of our fan-base who believe that Lawwell has dominated the Scottish game and accomplished things at our club that nobody else could.

It’s nonsense.

Whatever else we should fear about the future, don’t worry about this.

In Roman society, it was the son’s responsibility to the memory of his father not only to meet his obligations – to settle debts both public and personal – but to match, and then exceed, his achievements.

Octavian was made Caesar’s son by will and went on to do all that and more.

He understood that greatness is in what you do yourself, not in your name or by walking in the shadows of those who came before you.

In sort, why should Dominic McKay fear to step into Lawwell’s shoes?

For starters, Lawwell was never the colossus he was made out to be.

If Lawwell has dominated Scottish football – and there is a great body of people on both sides of the battle lines who believe this and take it as a matter of fact – then I’d say he’s done so very badly.

We’ve gone over the jobs he’s left unfinished or not even started, the way his call for a review of the EBT era was refused and his failure to properly hold the SFA to account on Resolution 12.

There is a body of evidence which makes a nonsense of the conspiracy theorists claim that he has ruled this roost.

On top of that, what has Lawwell done that no-one else could have?

What special talents did he bring to bear that we couldn’t find with someone else?

Those who see the departure of Lawwell as some massively destabilising moment for Celtic have no idea what they are talking about.

It’s long been clear that Lawwell has been complacent, that he’s stuck his nose into areas which were none of his concern, it’s long been obvious that he was limited in his strategic thinking and nowhere near as smart as he reckons he is.

Lawwell has weakened Celtic’s standing.

He has not enhanced it.

Celtic will benefit from Lawwell’s departure, if in no other way than because it’s impossible to imagine that Dominic McKay will repeat some of his most obvious mistakes, and the first and worst of them is that Lawwell started believing his own press.

McKay strikes me as a smart man, and the smartest of men are those who know their own limits.

He will know he’s not got the experience or the knowledge to start over-ruling the football department or even interfering in how it is run.

He will be right behind the creation of the Director of Football role and he will not get in that man’s way, or in the way of the manager who works alongside him.

Furthermore, if you’ve followed this guy’s story you’ll know he was convinced that he could put together a plan for making Murrayfield football’s national stadium, negating the need for Hampden and removing a crucial brick in the SFA’s wall.

He already has a healthy disdain for football’s insular little practices and I bet he will take one look at Scottish football governance from the inside and be absolutely appalled by what he sees.

It’s a long way from there to trying to reform the governing bodies, but McKay will have the power to do so if he decides that he wants to.

I think it’s the job of the blogs and the Celtic supporter’s organisations and through them the fan-base itself to strongly push the case in favour of doing so.

If we do it right then I think we’ve got the best chance of seeing real changes that we’ve had since 2012, and the shock of us even attempting it will rock the game to its foundations.

McKay is about to become one of the most powerful people in the game just because of the job he holds … and this is another of the misunderstandings about Peter Lawwell; that it was his personality or some combination of his skills which allowed him to seem omnipotent.

This obscured the reality.

In fact, merely being the CEO at Celtic confers immense authority and power on those hold the job.

We’ve missed that because Lawwell is the only person who has held that job in the last 17 years, and so the role has become synonymous, for some people, with the man himself … but that’s nowhere near to offering a complete picture.

McKay will soon enough come to understand the power he has in his hands.

It’s what he does with it that will determine how successful his time in the job could be.

In addition to that, Dominic McKay will be in charge of a marketing machine that, when tuned up, will almost run itself. There is a reason that the big firms like Adidas and Nike hover around us and it has nothing to do with Peter Lawwell.

We are a global brand … anyone with an iota of professionalism could sell us to those organisations and do it well.

Our ability to attract those kinds of deals won’t follow Lawwell out the door.

People like Tom English would have you believe that to do this job the new guy will have to “get up to speed” so that he “understands football” as if this was a vastly more complex industry than others.

Again, this is not true at all.

Lawwell got involved with things that were not in his purview.

Once we have a director of football in place the CEO will not have to touch anything to do with transfers or dealings with other clubs on the day to day level … and presumably we’ll not just hire a director of football off the streets.

He’ll come in already knowing the game inside out.

Football is a business just like any other.

McKay will be more than capable of reviewing the business plan and seeing where it’s coming up short.

He’ll be more than capable of working with marketing people and devising new strategies.

The job doesn’t require being in front of the press every other day either.

Not even Lawwell does that and he enjoys it more than a CEO should.

McKay will see the press as a tool to be used and the rest of the time he’ll try to keep them at arms-length.

He’ll find himself courted and feted by some of them and scorned by others; he should ignore all of it. They aren’t part of his job and he should leave most of his dealings with them to the media people who get paid handsomely for that.

Likewise, as I said already, I don’t think his not being from a football background will hurt us when it comes to how he interacts with the governing bodies and in the roles which he’ll certainly step into on them.

Indeed, I expect he’ll quickly realise they these organisations are archaic at best and at worst corrupt.

I get the impression Lawwell was too high-handed for his own good – that comes across in the way other chairmen talk about him.

This guy should focus on building alliances with those who do want there to be reforms.

He will do just fine at that.

Instead of thinking of Dominic McKay as a potential Napoleon III – which is how the media would already like him portrayed – think of him, instead, as a potential Octavian, a relative unknown stepping into the shoes of a “great man” and proving more than capable not only of matching him but of reaching heights the other man never dreamed of.

This is his historic opportunity, and ours.

He only has to want it, and then reach out and grab it.

Share this article