Yesterday, Peter Lawwell’s pet journalist, Stephen McGowan of the Scottish Daily Mail, told us all, officially, what we already know; that Roy Keane is at the top of the list to replace Neil Lennon.
At the top of it, not alone on it. The news didn’t go down well with fans.
Today, a curious thing has happened; McGowan has written an opinion piece on Keane where he flays the former Manchester United player on all the various criteria we’ve used previously; he lacks the kind of record Celtic deserves, he’s a known cause of problems at his clubs and he’s been out of the dugout too long.
Nothing dramatic about any of it.
But of course, it’s not for nothing that we refer to him as Lawwell’s pet, or to put it more nicely his go-to guy in the Scottish press corps. They have a good working relationship, these two, and many a Celtic story has found its way to the fans via that partnership.
The question I’m pondering today is whether or not McGowan’s piece on Keane is a sign that not everybody at Celtic Park is entirely with the program as far as Keane goes.
I know Lawwell hasn’t been terribly impressed with the idea in the past, and the has more reason than most to be fundamentally opposed to it this time around.
Lawwell is leaving behind a club in turmoil; that is not how he would have hoped to go, not how he believed he’d be going.
Lawwell once thought he could leave Celtic Park with the applause of grateful fans ringing in his ears after ten in a row had been secured.
He knows what his legacy is. He knows he’s toxified it.
The only way he leaves now with even a scrap of the acclaim he wanted and expected is to at least put us back on the right path, which you could argue is where we were before his ego derailed us.
Lawwell knows the appointment has to be spot on.
He is more than aware that if we devolve into yet another shambles people are going to say that not content with giving us Lennon he gave us some third rate choice on his way out the door.
He knows that this has to be a nailed on winner.
So perhaps he’s telegraphing his displeasure at the idea that Keane is some people’s favourite. I know this; he is not the kind of guy Lawwell would have wanted to work with, and that’s for good reasons as well as bad.
Yes, Keane would have told him to keep his nose out and that’s fine … but Keane would not have assured a happy camp and Lawwell has always liked things to run smoothly.
As I said last night, you can make a case for Keane if you are so minded; I laid out a pretty good one I think, although I personally don’t support the idea. At the same time, there are obvious areas of concern and it would be unbelievable if no-one at Parkhead understood that and was concerned enough to be opposed to the move.
Has McGowan been steered towards his piece?
I’m not saying he’s not capable of coming to these conclusions on his own, but the timing is curious.