Well, the big guy gave his latest presser today and he was not happy, not even a little bit, when he was asked if Celtic benefits from being in the Champions League. I get the impression he was also asked if we deserved to be there.
I love the way this guy handles himself at these pressers.
He was not in the least bit impressed by that chatter today, and the negativity which wafted off the hacks.
He talked about the “woe is me” attitude that permeates much of the press coverage in this country – what I’ve called The Cringe on this site – and hit back at it, pointing out that one day Steve Clarke was a “hero” and then “a zero” because he lost a few matches … and is now a hero again.
But he actually uttered some pretty strong words today about those in the press who have tried to paint a picture of us as being essentially out of our depth at the Champions League level. Some of them are obviously smarting because their own team has proved to be, but he utterly refuted the idea that this is a reflection of how Celtic has played.
It is the angriest he’s been, and the most forthright. He knows what these guys are all about and today he said it to them in plain, simple terms.
“I get this whole boom-bust cycle, and getting to here and the whole ‘woe is me’. We’re not the only country that struggles to get results at Champions League level. I can only talk for my club but if anyone can tell me that from the four games we’ve played that we don’t deserve to be there, or that we’ve been outplayed or looked out of place, then I reckon they’re talking from an agenda or some sort of bias,” he said and that must have evoked gasps in the room.
“The questions I’ve had after each of our games is about opportunities missed,” he said and with full justification.
“The ‘opportunities missed’ suggests that we’ve got to improve some areas for sure, but doesn’t say that we somehow don’t belong in a competition that we’ve earned the right to be in.”
The man is pissed off.
Our press is colossally bad, ignorant and shamelessly partisan and not in our favour. He was told that at his first ever fan presser. He learned the truth of that long before now, but today he said that back to them and I for one am glad that he did.