Yesterday, Ange Postecoglou spoke to the media – not the fan media; we were given a chance to interview our two “new signings”, which with respect to them was a second rate option considering the myriad questions we had for the manager – and told them that he’s made the decision to retain both John Kennedy and Gavin Strachan as his coaches.
Earlier this week, an agent in Australia said that decision had been made for him at the uppermost level of Celtic.
That was denied by Celtic.
Yet in one of those funny coincidences which happens at our club with disquieting regularity, that story was the catalyst for Postecoglou’s decision to inform the press yesterday that he’s chosen to stick with what he has.
He was at great pains to point out that the decision was his, and that he would live or die by it. Whatever you think of the first part of that sentence, you can’t be in any doubt that the second part is true. His success is now partly in the hands of two men most of us wouldn’t trust to coach one of those Legends teams that does the celebrity circuit.
Everyone at Celtic Park talks about excellence and a commitment to excellence. How can any of us take that seriously when we are stuck with a coaching team which doesn’t even measure up to third rate?
There’s no point in sugar coating this; that decision is a joke.
Ange may well be a better manager and more tactically astute than Gerrard; time will tell on that one. But there is no question whatsoever that over at Ibrox the management team which surrounds the former Liverpool player is vastly superior to the one at Celtic Park.
And apparently we’re alright with that.
Last season the fall in standards was clear. Two senior officials – Lawwell and Lennon – publicly fell on their swords over that collapse. Kennedy and Strachan should have followed them out the door the minute a new manager was in the building.
I believed that Postecoglou would do a full scale root and branch restructuring of the coaching team. He hasn’t. Maybe he can’t. I am deeply worried that in a matter of weeks he thinks he’s seen enough to convince him that these two are up to the job.
Frankly, I don’t see how that’s possible and it forces me confront the possibility that maybe, in spite of the denials, he doesn’t have a choice in it. Loathe as I am to call he and McKay liars, this decision and its timing is like a confirmation of our worst fears.
It is absolutely scandalous that those two are keeping their jobs.
One look at last year’s league table, one look at the wreckage of the whole campaign, shows you what a failure the operation at Celtic Park was, from top to bottom. You can’t blame all of this on Neil Lennon and none of us ever has.
Those players were unfit. They were demotivated. They made the same mistakes over and over again in games.
Basic things were clearly not being done in the coaching of these footballers, and if that had merely been Lennon’s fault both those men had their own audition in the dugout to ring the changes and make it clear that they had their own vision.
What we learned instead was exactly how lacking those two are. Our form only got worse. We suffered as many humiliations in those last months as we did under Lennon in the preceding ones.
There was nothing whatsoever to merit keeping either man around.
Neither Kennedy nor Strachan proved themselves as coaches.
Keeping them around reeks of jobs for the boys. It reeks of a club structure which still values doing little favours for mates and Friends of the Man above the general good of Celtic itself.
It is cronyism and nepotism and fans want it out of Parkhead and Lennoxtown.
What’s worse is that Postecoglou confirmed yesterday that there will be plenty of changes to the backroom team … but not necessarily in coaching. So what, he’s going to be allowed to hire his own nutritionist and his own video analysts?
What good does it do if the two guys who are his right hand men between them don’t have a clue?
There is another obvious question that arises here.
Is this issue with his European license sorted out yet?
Has anyone even bothered to ask the club that?
At which point do you think they intend to tell us, officially, that we’re going into that qualifier (so far) without signings, and with Kennedy and Strachan running the team on the night?
Because that’s how it looks right now, that’s what’s in front us.
Already some are making this a question of trust in the manager; do you trust Postecoglou or not?
Because if you do, you have to back his judgement.
Well in my view this decision calls his judgement into serious question, and that should be answer enough.