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Was Weekend Visit The Sign That More Big Changes Are Coming At Celtic Park?

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Tonight, no transfer rumours to report but one big interesting flashing light of a story which makes me wonder if something even bigger than transfer business isn’t happening at Celtic Park behind the scenes.

It’s the story of how Greame Mathie was at the game on Saturday.

Now there might be an innocent explanation … and there might not be.

Mathie was the former sporting director at Hibs. Is he being picked for the similar role – Director of Football – at Celtic, or is this something more?

Is this the club actually looking outward for its next CEO?

Is this the first sign that maybe Nicholson doesn’t have this sewn up? Or that he doesn’t want it?

There are stories about Nicholson out there.

Stories about how the guy seems himself as a backroom dealer and not necessarily as a front man, and the CEO for a club the size of Celtic has to be a little razzmatazz and showbiz.

There’s another thing too, of course, and if you’ve been used to being in the shadows and working behind the scenes you have to consider it; as CEO you are suddenly the focal point for everything, good and bad, which happens.

And as the aphorism goes, “the rod draws the lightning.”

If you were used to making decisions in the background, where nobody really second-guessed you, would you want to be the guy who was suddenly at the forefront of everything, the guy the world was watching? The guy who gets the blame?

I could understand why someone might not want that job.

You need to have a bit of an ego about you do it. You need to be a bit of an extrovert, and Nicholson has been in the role for over a month and has not said a single word in public; I find that astonishing and unsettling and even a little arrogant from the club that they think this can fly … but I also understand why somebody who was not used to that sort of thing might eschew it, especially if the posting is temporary.

Is Mathie capable of stepping up?

Well, if there’s one lesson which seems obvious it’s this; if McKay failed because he’s a stranger to football and its little highways and byways – and although we tend to get overly mystical about the strangeness of our sport there are things which only an insider knows for sure – it would perhaps be a mistake to go outside of its environs for the next guy.

I would totally understand if we hired within the sport.

It might not get us the truly top drawer people, but they would at least understand the landscape.

Mathie ticks that particular box, and he’s good too.

What’s more, he has a Celtic connection; he started his career here as a youth team coach before moving into the scouting department. He then took a job at the SFA before moving to Hibs. His work at Hibs has been lauded.

I personally think he’s a very good candidate to be Director of Football; that’s sort of the role he did at Easter Road and he could comfortably step into the similar one at Parkhead.

He knows the club, he knows players, he knows scouting and coaching; it’s a perfect pedigree and I would be pretty pleased if this was the sort of appointment we made to that post.

But don’t be surprised if this is him being positioned for the more senior position.

Nicholson just does not fit.

The modern CEO needs to be a personality, somebody who can build alliances, work through the media, somebody who can articulate a vision.

Nicholson has done none of this so far and I don’t think he’s going to.

If he’s here long enough to appoint this guy in some role or another, at the same time as he spearheads the search for his own successor, he can, however take a bow having played a critical role in the rebuild. He might never take a bow for it, but he would deserve to.

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2 comments

  • Nick66 says:

    A lot of ifs, buts and and maybes in there James, however there may be something to them. Know not whether the CEO would be the role, but DOF a good shout. Perhaps he [Mathie], has developed to the heights of CEO, but he has a good record as a DOF type. Anyway, an interesting subject to muse over.

  • Ange Baby says:

    He supposedly got his cards at Hibs as he was blamed for them not getting McGrath from St Mirren over the line before the last transfer window deadline.
    With our transfer dithering over the last few seasons, he would seem a perfect fit !!!

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