We’ve all seen some variation of the story; a heist movie gone wrong type thing where as the net closes on the thieves they conspire, pick one of their number and throw him to the wolves. Not for nothing is it called “holding the bag.”
There’s also what’s known as a snipe hunt, and that is even more applicable here; in that practical joke of sorts, a group of hunters go in search of “the snipe”.
It’s a complete fool’s errand; either the creature doesn’t exist or the animal they are hunting is not native to that area.
But one member of the party is given a variety of instructions for catching it … including standing in the dark “holding the bag” which is meant to trap it, in the expectation that the rest of the party is either leading or driving it towards him.
So there he stands, the moron, waiting whilst the rest of the hunting party is back at the camp roasting marshmallows, drinking beer and toasting the catch of the day, who’ll show up later freezing and pissed off once he realises he’s been duped.
At which point in all this will McKay realise he’s the mug?
A which point will he realise that he’s been fitted up as the guy who takes the fall?
The story that Lawwell departed Celtic Park on Friday was not news to me.
I heard it in the middle of last week, from someone I consider a very good source indeed.
But I had no intention of writing it on that basis, so I spoke to some people at Parkhead who assured me that it wasn’t in the least bit accurate. Which I know was puzzling to the person I heard if from.
Presumably, Harry Brady has an equally good source, perhaps even the same source.
So what’s going on here?
What’s the purpose of putting that story in the public domain? I know for a fact that the story did come from deep inside Parkhead. I know for a fact who the origin of the story actually is. If it’s true, why broadcast it?
But if it’s not true, there’s even less reason for putting it out there.
Except that it leaves McKay holding the bag.
It means that he’s the mug in this managerial snipe hunt we’re on. It shoves the blame in his direction, making him look more culpable in the eyes of the fans than those who probably carry the greater responsibility.
Everything about the way this has fallen is designed to put his fingerprints on it. Reports over the weekend suggest that Postecoglou won’t even meet the team until July, when Lawwell’s departure is official and he’s out of the building.
It looks as if it will be McKay who sits beside him at his first press conference. Which means that if it all goes wrong – and I think it’s a disaster in the making – that it’s his name which will be most closely associated with it.
The Green Brigade didn’t miss him yesterday, did they?
What he’s learning already is that this idea of shadowing Lawwell has already cost him. McKay would have gotten a honeymoon from the fans, but he won’t now with the perception that he’s already involved in major decision making and we’re still fumbling about like a drunk carrying a rare dinner set.
McKay should have come in on a fresh start, with a blank sheet of paper. Had the board got Howe and a director of football over the line, he might have looked like a hero on his first formal day in the role.
Now he looks like just another incompetent.
That will be far, far worse if they manage to dump the Postecoglou mess on him.
I understand why Lawwell might have walked away early.
He has been through a dreadful trauma and must be under more pressure than anyone else in the club, and probably the most pressure anyone inside Parkhead has been in quite some time.
But he could have announced that and no-one would have batted an eyelid.
So a few people might have said he was running out and leaving the job unfinished … this guy is going to get stick now no matter what he does, and that’s just a fact.
There’s no real reason why, if this story is true, that Celtic doesn’t just announce it … and no reason why they don’t just deny it if it’s not, especially since it’s already been denied to me by people inside the club.
Why leave the doubt hanging? Why leave the matter open?
I can only speculate what the reasons are, but I know what the effects are as they are obvious; it puts Dominic McKay’s fingerprints all over our current failure and any failure which flows from the decisions being taken inside Parkhead right now.
And you know what?
That might be fair enough, because he might well be the guy who’s most intimately involved in them.
But it might also be grossly unfair.
Either way, he risks being tainted by these matters even before his feet are under the table and only this board could think that this is a good idea, creating instability before he’s even started.