One of the most infuriating things about last season, looking back, is that we’ve never had an apology from Neil Lennon or, really, anyone at the club about what went wrong. He and the CEO departed; neither could have remained. But no-one ever said sorry.
Instead, the directors and Lennon have made excuses.
Injuries. Unhappy players. The global health crisis. Referees. The Scottish Government. Deep state conspiracies for all we know behind the walls. The one constant is the bullshit.
No-one wants to accept responsibility for any of it, and that gives the impression of a club that is unable to learn its lessons.
How refreshing it is to see a man at the helm who does not do any of that.
Ange Postecoglou takes full responsibility for everything. He does not make excuses. His comments before and after the game, in fact his comments in the past week, as the injury crisis grew, as we were facing games in front of empty stands, and then as the bug hit us, was to simply tell the players to work harder and eschew any form of passing the buck.
And I love that. It’s such a change. It also ties our opponents in knots because none of them can accuse him of having sought special favours over this shut-down or suggest that he and the club was running scared. As he said, we would have tackled those games without bitching or moaning if that was what we had been made to do.
Leave the violin playing for others, is how he sort of put it and we all understood that and smiled at it, knowing exactly which bubbling children he was referring to. When he hit back, last night, at the suggestion that we had sought some advantage he rightly pointed out that clubs were being asked to play in front of no fans and that nobody found that acceptable a year ago or at the start of the campaign, yet suddenly hacks and rivals wanted it that way.
This is a manager who is resolute and determined. Unshakable. Unflappable. He owns his mistakes and never hides. He talks straight and true. And he is adamant that our club will fight through any hardship without the self-pitying whining of others.
In adversity, he takes responsibility and leads from the front. He does not hide behind smokescreens. In the midst of the worst injury crisis I’ve ever seen at this club he simply tells people to get on with their jobs, focus and believe that the results will come.
That’s what made yesterday such a triumph.
The nature of the win, yes, but also the conditions in which it was secured.
He is the kind of leader you want when the going gets tough and that is the kind of leadership which makes strong teams.