We’re a week on from the Ibrox misbehaviour, and Scottish football is still waiting for leadership from the very top.
You sometimes wonder what it’s going to take.
Yesterday, on my way into Celtic Park, I randomly bumped into Peter Lawwell, and I shook his hand briefly before moving on. It wasn’t a day for lingering to debate or find out how the man was doing.
He looked well though. His time out of the spotlight has clearly been good for him.
Although I have fundamental issues with his last few years in charge at our club, I cannot fault him for his work on the commercial side of the club, which was outstanding.
I also believe that Scottish football owes him a number of debts that it will never be able to repay. His retirement from the front line was accelerated by his assumption of a job that nobody else in the power structure wanted, and it cost him and put him in the path of some very dangerous people. We all know that he was publicly targeted.
What most people don’t realise is that his clash with the people who firebombed his home was related to his work with the SFA, in a role advising young players about the best ways to stay out of the clutches of hard-core organised criminals.
The CEO of Celtic didn’t have to do that. But our game is not led by serious people, and it took a serious person to step up. We were never going to get that sort of leadership from the rest of them, and the reason I mention Lawwell is that one of his mistakes was to provide political cover and lend weight to the empty shirt inside which Neil Doncaster hides.
If Lawwell hadn’t protected that man he would have been gone in 2012.
Our club has kept him in office by giving him support at other times too.
His rise from the SPFL to the SFA is a shocking rebuke to the Peter Principle and Scott Adam’s Dilbert Principle; the first assumes that people are promoted until they reach their level of incompetence and the second supposes that the very worst people in a company are promoted until their incompetence no longer interrupts the good work being done further down in the corporate structure.
Doncaster is promoted without possessing any competence, either in the job he was in before or to the one he’s rising to fill.
And the more he is promoted the greater damage he can do because the Chinese proverb says that a fish rots from the head down … and Scottish football has had enough toxic leadership in it to last a lifetime.
The role of anyone in a leadership position is to lead, first and foremost.
This might sound obvious, but in too many hierarchies there’s no actual leading getting done and Scottish football is in that position as a result of people like Doncaster.
Last week’s events called for a decisive figure to set out a path towards dealing with these sorts of incidents, and in particular so they can’t be repeated. What did Doncaster do instead? He got in front of the media and talked about what he couldn’t do and what the game here couldn’t do. It was a list of excuses for not doing anything at all.
Doncaster does not want to tackle the problem because he is afraid to put his head in the Ibrox noose, and it’s that simple.
These thugs and lunatics have cowed their own board; he certainly has no wish to get in their way. This is why Lawwell had to step up on the other thing, and I think it proves that Doncaster should be nowhere near authority.
He asserts that there are only two options for dealing with this problem, neither of which are acceptable to clubs.
This is not only a brazen lie but a spineless attempt to pass the buck onto them whilst keeping it as far away from himself and his own office as possible.
And because of that, those Ibrox fans received a very clear message; act however you want inside a Scottish football ground because there’s nothing anyone can do. It does not take a genius to see that such a pitiful stance is inherently dangerous.
I cannot understand what Celtic ever got out of protecting this man.
We discerned no benefit from it whatsoever as far as I can see, and it has left him in a position where he merely exists, not influencing events and not offering vision or ideas.
The man is a joke, and his comments were a disgrace.
There is a real conversation to be had about what this game requires, but he should be nowhere near it.