Whilst not my cup of tea in the management stakes, and whilst having no chance of getting the gig as our next boss, there are certain elements to John Kennedy’s performance as our stand in manager where I’ve honestly been impressed, and they have nothing to do with what’s happened on the pitch, although there’s been a marked improvement there too.
No, I am most impressed with the way Kennedy deals with our media, and last night after the game we got another sterling example of how deft he is at handling them and how good he is at playing the psychological games … he’s far better at this than Lennon was.
His comments after the match about how the performance and the result proves that we are still the best team in Scotland will be scorned by the ignorant and infuriate the easily offended.
They are also impossible to refute, because they are quite obviously true.
Celtic is the best football team in Scotland. I don’t even have the slightest doubt in my mind about it, it’s a fact, something I take for granted like breathing in oxygen.
When we show up for business, fit and game-ready, when the attitudes are right we will blow out any club in this country like a birthday cake candle. Including the one that plays out of Ibrox.
Our problems this season arise from a combination of factors, but those factors have nothing to do with the respective talents of this squad and if we can keep the core of it together – if we can hold on to even one of the three marquee players who we are told will inevitably depart – we will take some beating once the new manager gets us properly rolling again.
The football we played yesterday was devastating.
One touch passing, swift movement off the ball, deadly in front of goal … we looked like our old selves.
I don’t believe any side in this league would have held us off yesterday.
If we repeat that performance at Ibrox we will be in the next round of the cup. I do not doubt that for even a single second. The result set us up perfectly for that game.
Kennedy’s comments, though, are what really made my day.
Wait for the first suggestion that the Ibrox management will “pin them to the dressing room wall.” Good. I hope they do.
It’s been too long since they looked towards Parkhead with an appropriate level of respect, and if we’re talking the talk maybe they’ll start wondering if we’re capable of walking the walk … that’s perfect for us, because we’ve not put them under pressure this season and this is our last chance to do so. I hope we spend the week ramping it up.
I am not afraid of us going to Ibrox. I think the draw is perfect for us.
Beat them and the road to another Scottish Cup is open wide for us, and we can end this season with the last trophy and set fear running amuck inside their walls. It’s a great draw.
I get the feeling, too, that we are getting them at a good time … they’ve already won their title and they’ve betrayed all the egotism and arrogance that goes with that.
There are some of them who do think they only have to turn up to win … we should be looking to exploit that for all it’s worth, and it’s worth a lot as some of our own players fell victim to that presumption about this season and it didn’t end so well.
This isn’t an example of that. When Kennedy said yesterday that we’re still the best team in Scotland all he did was state a fact. It’s good that we feel that kind of confidence flowing through the place again.
Now we have to prove that it isn’t misplaced.
And it’s really not.
All we really have to do is show up for business – meaning business, knowing our business and in the mood to do business – and we’ll get the job done. We are the better team. It’s time to hammer that point home.