The next time Davie Provan writes something positive about Celtic it will also be the first time.
It will come as a surprise in a way that reading his latest column does not.
His latest one insults our game. It insults our club. It insults our attempt to hire Eddie Howe. It insults Howe himself. It is a poisonous, spiteful, ugly little piece, written in a rag.
“The Scottish game is viewed with contempt in England,” he says, and he’s right in a sense.
But nobody in the media reflects that contempt better than he does, and that’s why every single thing that he writes about the game here is relentlessly negative.
You know what the worst of it is? He’s not wrong in the central thesis of the piece. Appointing a manager who’s been out of work for nearly a year should have been a more straightforward affair than we appear to have made it.
Howe wants certain things; we are either going to give him those things or we are not. If they are non-negotiable and we decide not to play ball then we should terminate our interest, withdraw the offer and move the Hell on.
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If they are negotiable then we need to find out which ones are critical to him, decide what we’re willing to live with and split the difference.
I cannot believe that these are issues relating to his backroom team. If he wants his coaches and his own assistant, then those are things we’re going to have to give him.
It’s not an unreasonable request anyway.
For openers, no decent manager will come to Celtic without those kind of guarantees and for seconds Celtic fans will simply not trust any arrangement where it even appears as if the board has imposed Kennedy and Strachan on a new boss.
It won’t matter if that’s not what happened; if it even looks like it the supporters are going to assume that the same old shit is going on behind the scenes.
Provan is not without intelligence.
This isn’t just someone like Commons throwing his faeces at the walls like a guy in a padded cell.
He could have made his points and been taken seriously if he had only presented them in a serious way, but as per usual he has allowed his scorn for Scottish football in general and for the Celtic board in particular to poison every word of his piece.
Celtic needs to close the deal for Howe in the next week.
To drag this out any further is, as Provan points out, embarrassing and risks an epic humiliation at the end of it. But the way in which he has chosen to present that argument does him no credit.
I wish Provan would stop writing about Scottish football; his disdain for it is obvious. But you know what the truth is? The people who matter on issues like this consider Provan himself to be a strict second-rater. They won’t give him a gig writing about his beloved EPL; that’s a plum assignment that nobody trusts him with.
There is, therefore, an element of self-loathing in all of his SPL bashing.
We might be a backwater, but his bosses have decided that this backwater is all he’s fit for, and that would hurt me if I were in his shoes, in the way a manager based in Scotland might believe he’s good enough for that promised land but who knows too that he’ll never reach it.
If he was capable of inspiring sympathy, I may even feel sorry for him.