The last 24 hours has been full of amusing football stories relating in some way to our club.
From the fans across the city believing that a Fantasy Football League valuation of Odsonne Edouard was what we received as a transfer fee to the ludicrous spectacle of Ryan Christie trying to convince us all that “Bournemouth were the only club I ever wanted to play for,” there’s been a lot to laugh at since the transfer window shut at midnight on Tuesday.
What I haven’t been laughing at is the latest petty squabble between Leigh Griffiths and Neil Lennon; I am just glad that our club is no longer collateral damage in their to-and-fro debating. Griffiths is right in the central charge against Lennon; that this is a guy simply trying to keep himself relevant in the game, at a time when he’s unemployed.
Griffiths I trying to keep himself relevant too, although he has a greater chance to do so if he’s playing regular first team football.
When Lennon blasted him before I thought some of his comments were ridiculous.
When Griffiths blasted back previously I thought some of his own comments paid no heed to his own responsibilities … these two are tiresome.
But Griffiths, more than Lennon, has a case here because the manager hasn’t accepted one iota of responsibility for everything that went wrong on his watch.
Although nobody has openly discussed the extent of the breakdown the player has at least hinted at it today in his praise for Ange and most importantly, his contention that the club has “something it hasn’t had since Brendan Rodgers” was there … he never elaborates, but we can make educated guesses.
Everything at Celtic broke down under Lennon.
There was no team spirit, no collective responsibility from the coaches, all the blame was shifted onto the shoulders of the players.
They, themselves, were not blameless, which is where Griffiths’ assessment of the situation falls down somewhat, but that the manager lost the dressing room isn’t disputed by anyone.
Celtic seems a much happier place now that some of the troublesome elements are gone, and I do include Lennon in that group. Griffiths kind of feels to me as if he’s the last negative link – on the playing side anyway – to those dark days.
I don’t believe he’ll ever return to Celtic to play for us again.
But his comments today were much more measured and calm and responsible than those I expect Lennon to fire back at him. Leigh understands why the fans booed, and although he has no ill will against Celtic supporters he knows that leaving was the best thing all round.
He retains a lot of affection for our club – that much is obvious – and will say no bad word about us.
Which I think is great, and something we should all remember.
His departure draws a line under a bad spell for us, one about which we still know very little.
But I think his comments shine a little light on things, and remind us that there has been a general stepping up of the professionalism and standards at Celtic Park.
This is further evidence of the rightness of Ange’s approach and the new feeling of optimism in the air around the place.
The days of petty squabbling are over.