Celtic’s Implosion Started In The Dressing Room. Our Rivals Now Face The Same Issue.

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Whatever went wrong at Celtic, it started way before the night of 26 August 2020 but in the aftermath of that game the manager lit the spark for the full scale detonation.

In one of the most astonishing, and ill-judged, temper-tantrums I’ve ever witnessed from a manager, Lennon did not create the problems that engulfed us from that night onward; they were already there, or he would never have started ranting like that.

But he lost his ability to control events that night.

Remember about a month ago when I wrote about “three shakes”? A shake is a nanosecond; it’s a term used in physics. I wrote about it in the context of Tom Clancy’s book The Sum Of All Fears. In that book he devotes an entire chapter to the “three shakes” it takes for a nuclear explosion to occur. Everything which happens next is an aftereffect.

We don’t see it, but the explosion has already taken place. What we would see, if we were unlucky enough to be near ground zero, would be the consequences.

In that piece I said that it was obvious that something was ailing the Ibrox club. That “something” had already happened; we were now seeing the first effects of the explosion. On Sunday, in the aftermath of the League Cup semi-final, we saw the flash of brilliant light that observers recognise as the “signature” of a nuclear detonation.

Goldson’s comments sent shockwaves through the Ibrox support. But the crisis didn’t start with his comments any more than Lennon’s own rant precipitated ours. These two only made an existing problem public, and in doing so obviously made it worse.

But it’s possible that we were already holed below the water line. Lennon’s management style wasn’t to everyone’s taste, and I suspect that he’d lost the dressing room long before. Those were the angry remarks of someone who didn’t think there was that great a risk in dragging the dirty laundry out into the public square, because the cause was already lost.

Those who want to continue pretending we have a capable board of directors might want to look away as I make the obvious point; it will forever be a mystery why people inside Parkhead didn’t act sooner, because all of them must have known that we were in big trouble before that night and effectively in freefall after it. They have no excuses whatsoever for not dealing with that in a decisive manner, to prevent the full-scale collapse.

It takes a strong leader – one willing to admit his own faults for a start – to hold a dressing room together when various strands of it are at war with each other. There is no doubt whatsoever that Connor Goldson was opening, in public, wounds have been festering in private since at least the summer and maybe even longer.

Even with that kind of personality in charge, there are times when you just can’t keep it together no matter what you do, and if Goldson is right and the players there have “lost the hunger” and are just going through the motions then there’s no recovering from that at all, especially when that fact has been made public and the infighting has become fierce.

Let’s put it this way; if you were unhappy at work already and someone started criticising your job performance would you be more or less inclined to stay? The answer is obvious.

There were players over there who signed because the manager was there. He’s now gone, and so a little of the lustre that existed at the club is gone. Several of our players would have felt the same way when Rodgers left. That is only natural when you have a big name in charge.

Other players did see it as their duty to deliver the league title, and having done that they probably do think there’s nothing else to prove and they can now seek their moves to England in good conscience. If they’ve mentally checked out that’s why.

But none of these guys will appreciate the way they were called out in public by Goldson, and then again by Scott Arfield who talked about falling standards. These guys, by the way, both have contracts which expire at the end of the season; I would bet that neither of them is going to sign a new deal. That’s what others on long term contracts will find most intolerable; having their commitment questioned by guys who don’t have any.

Too many players over there believe the hype about them; that’s a big problem in itself, and it’s one which the club has gotten itself into with a lot of help from the media. The constant talk about clubs sniffing around and readying massive offers has messed with the heads of some of these guys, who don’t know what’s true and what isn’t, but know what they would like to believe and see the club, rightly or wrongly, as preventing them earning the big bucks down south. The irony is that, as we suspect, this alleged “interest” probably isn’t even real.

But the effects of it are certainly real and they are finally starting to bite.

We saw how easily – and how completely – a public declaration of trouble behind the scenes can start a club on a death spiral, and the reason this happens is that a problem has to already be pretty severe for someone to light the fuse on the bomb this way. Whatever tensions have been building up in private are now spilling over into the public sphere and that means we’re way down the path towards a full-scale collapse, unless someone can hold it together.

We had to watch as everything at Celtic Park fell apart after that night. We may be about to witness the same dynamic play out across town. Have the popcorn ready, because their club is going to blow like Chernobyl.

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  • Bhoy4life says:

    I sincerely hope you are correct in your assumption, and if you are, they are decidedly less well equipped to recover from an implosion like ours.
    Happy days ahead.

  • Bob (original) says:

    On the face of it, it looks like The Rangers has actually done well to secure Gio: an experienced manager who has won silverware.

    However, it also looks like he has inherited the problem facing Gerrard in the summer: an inability to refresh the squad.

    Don’t think there will be too much transfer activity at Ibrox in January, so this season will be a real test of Gio’s man-management skills!

    …and if the bears don’t see new faces coming in they’ll not be too happy either… 🙂

    • Peter Cassidy says:

      Regarding celtic last season the players who wanted away should have been sold and downed tools also lennon did not help tactics and training very poor players unfit lennon drinking coming into training stinking of stale booze directors knowing all this and doing #uck all total shambles.regarding the bigots I don’t go along they are in turmoil on the playing side yes they have problems regarding some players getting more money than others thats also in most clubs but if van the man is good as we are told it won’t take him long to sort out them back to playing better and winning matches as they have a settled side so time will tell if he is the man for the job its all a big if but all we need to do at celtic is just keep winning and ignore what is going on at the bigot dome but to be honest can’t stop laughing 3.1 hibs lovely.

    • REBELLIOUS says:

      Total collapse = unbridled JOY 😉

  • SSMPM says:

    The responsibility and disgrace was not laid enough at the rebellious Celtic players from last year, compare that to what has been delivered against the board and in particular Lennon. It continues to this day. They laid down their tools and the whole club suffered as a result. Everyone else’s fault but theirs? The prima donnas haven’t excelled since they moved on so for me in hindsight they and Lennon should have been moved on before the last season started. The club should have sacked them off for that crappy attitude but given we signed some poor quality players anyway and always too late, which can be clearly laid on the recruitment team, it seems the league was a bust from then anyway. Don’t forget the hurrah from the Celtic support when Duffy signed. Many of the fans got it wrong too. HH

    • Damian says:

      Totally. The board acted last season exactly as fans would have: focusing entirely on securing the ten as opposed to having any long term vision; being taken in by the idea of signing the Irish captain and having players who ‘get it’ without any objective or analytical approach to building a working system; keeping hold of playerYou win nothing with players who ‘get it’. Getting it is meaningless. I get it; I ought not to be playing in midfield or picking the team.

  • Tony B says:

    Never mind sevcvnts. [email protected] will sort it using his special Orange powers.


  • REBELLIOUS says:

    A wee bit of optimism required in their case, me, I’M LOVING IT
    Watching that lot collapse n burn is just what the doctor ordered

  • Northamptontim says:

    Shame lol they deserve everything coming to them HH

  • jrm63 says:

    I hope you are correct obviously but somebody needs to point out that they are 4 points ahead of us in the league. One defeat and it is 7. As for that league cup game against Hibs, yes they were poor but Hibs really did not take them apart – the media writes that because they were 3 down in 40 mins but Hibs took every chance they made and those given by Davis. There are problems I think but we have won precisely nothing yet.

  • Pat Mclaughlin says:

    The big difference is That Sevco will have a completee background staff in before their the next game.Also we stuck by the manager and staff which was totally wrong so the ill feeling in the squad spread like wildfire hail hail.

  • Damian says:

    I admire your optimism, as always. They are nevertheless at the top of the league where they have grown used to being. We have seen huge improvements under a very capable and engaging manager, but we have also shown persisting vulnerabilities. Rangers’s midfield still worries me in direct contrast to our own. It was and remains a test for their football operation, and their Sporting Director in particular, to have a manager and his staff leave midseason, but on the surface at least, they appear to have acted as well-structured operations will. Their new appointment would appear to be a good one.

    Clearly I hope that your narrative is correct, but it’s not as rock solid as your tone suggests. Their financial problems are blatant, but it would be the most Rangers thing to do, ever, to stick it out until the end of the season.

  • Al says:

    How quickly they acted compared to us. Gerrard had run out of enthusiasm for that job and they needed a change whether they knew it or not. But when it was needed they moved fast. Our board are shit but hopefully Ange and the players can succeed despite them.

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