If you had asked me, in February, if there were circumstances under which I’d have wanted Steve Clarke as the next manager I’d have said that if every top tier candidate we went for turned us down and we were down to the wire I’d settle for it with much anger.
If you’d asked me if there were circumstances under which I’d have accepted a Jack Ross or a Callum Davidson, I’d have laughed and said that it was too ridiculous to contemplate.
But of course all that would all have been speaking hypothetically, months ago, and with plenty of candidates in the frame.
Things are different now.
On the cusp of pre-season training, well that’s bad enough.
That would have focussed minds on some of the hitherto unthinkable options. On the cusp of an appointment such as this, all the rules are different and everything is on the table again.
Right now I’d take Keane. Not happily, but not reluctantly either. I’d get my head around it and know that he would walk into a dressing room and command respect, that he’d be the biggest figure at the club by a country mile and woe betide any Friends Of The Man who forgot that or decided to test their boundaries a wee bit. Keane would do right now.
I could make a compelling argument for Steve Clarke.
We’d need to wait till after the Euros, but when you consider that we might have to wait on work permits and UEFA coaching licenses anyway it seems like a small price to pay to get a guy we actually know could do us a job.
And even a Callum Davidson or a Jack Ross would bring stability and a knowledge of the players and the personalities and everything else, and a keener understanding of what’s at stake and what the pressures are going to be.
There is a kind of comfort level attached to an appointment that is basically unimaginative but that you can wrap your brain around.
It all makes more sense than this unfathomable gamble, this roll of the dice against drastic odds, this appointment that feels so much like the final Peter Lawwell Production, a bad movie that nobody would go and see unless they felt compelled to.
I was furious about Neil Lennon getting the job.
In this case, I’m just scared and there are so many reasons why, from the way it’s been done to the licensing issue and how many people are suggesting that we just appoint someone to run the team whilst he advises from the side-lines … I mean some of these people are Celtic supporters and the reality of what we’re about to do here doesn’t seem to have entirely sunk in for them.
We’re about to appoint a coach who, in his current job, has finished 12th, 1st and 9th. Who’s only other domestic honours were in Australia. Sure there’s hype around this guy, but some of the commentary over him is ridiculous.
Guardiola said he’s a good manager.
But Guardiola says that about every coach he comes up against.
Brendan Rodgers thinks he’s top class? He thinks John Kennedy is top class as well. Every Australian outlet is talking about how big this is for their country … it’s a coup for them that a coach has landed the Celtic gig and they want to see him pull it off … it’s what you what expect from our press if Steve Clarke’s next job was Bayern Munich.
Cut through all the hysteria.
Look at the man’s record.
Look at the calibre of teams he’s managed against and be honest; is this a Celtic level appointment?
What the Hell is this club about to do?
And why are so many people happy about it?
We’re confronting the abyss here.
And so yeah, Roy Keane looks good right about now.