Time has taken what it wanted, now I’m gonna get my victory
With my last cheap shot at the dream.
Every year, as far back as I can remember, we’ve done it this way.
Getting through it requires more luck than skill; the idea that it’s a sound concept has been tested to destruction, costing us God knows how many millions, and frustrating one top class manager.
But Celtic persists in going into the Champions League qualifiers grossly unprepared and undermanned.
No more so than this year, where a team led by a guy who’s never managed at anywhere remotely near this level before will take us into our first games just weeks after starting work and almost certainly with only the fragments of a team.
It’s spectacularly dangerous, quite possibly ruinous, but that has never stopped the man before, and it’s not going to bother him this time, not with one foot out the door and someone else to carry the can.
I see no way that we’re going to be ready for it, no way in which this manager who is starting under the black cloud over the club, is going to be remotely able to glue together the bits he needs to make a real fist of this, but by God he needs to find a way … and if he does, you wait and see the preening CEO getting himself in front of the cameras to tell us all that the success proves that he was right all along.
This is the last crack at the Champions League he’s going to get whilst his hands are on the controls and he’s learned nothing from the past 17 years.
This is his last cheap shot at the dream, and he will believe that if we qualify even through that early round and thus guarantee ourselves European Group Stage football, with a patch-work team hastily assembled for not much money that the strategy is fundamentally sound.
But this strategy needs to follow Peter Lawwell out the door because it’s a failure and it’s been proved a failure over and over again. Even with a top class coach like Rodgers, we turned it into a crap-shoot because we went into major games grossly unprepared.
The plan can be easy enough understood; try for the Group Stages, but as cheaply as possible and then spend a few quid extra before the deadline.
It’s a bean-counter strategy though, which seriously hampers the team in its efforts, and when you look at the alleged quality of the teams we’ve gone out to you can see we’d have been far better placed by pushing forward just a little harder, just a little bit better. We could easily have made it on some of those years where we came up just short.
This is the most under-resourced and under-prepared any Celtic manager in my living memory will go into these games.
Indeed, the scandal above even that is that we’re not guaranteed to even have him in the dugout, and if he is it will most probably be with very little time with the team.
This is beyond simple bad strategy; this is the gross mismanagement at the executive level.
And really, it has heaped humiliation on us on several occasions before now and it probably should have on others, such as the year when Lennon secured us a Group Stage place with a very late winner against Karagandy at Celtic Park when his team had been weakened in every consecutive round of the qualifiers.
Our board hung him out to dry that year and there are many who think they are hanging the new manager out to dry before he’s even in the gig.
This is the Celtic Way though, or rather it’s the Lawwell way.
With just weeks left to go in the gig he’s not for changing now.
We’re locked on course and this time he’s determined to do it in a manner more high-risk than ever before. If it works people will call him a hero, which is just one more proof that his greatest talent is playing certain folk for absolute fools.