Keith Jackson, as predicted, turned the guns on The Mooch this morning, but the criticism was more subdued than I expected, especially from someone who isn’t convinced by the guy and who recognises that the system is not what was promised to their fans.
He clings to a desperate fantasy; that there is some underlying logic to all this, that we just aren’t seeing it yet and that the new signings just need time to bed in.
The part about signings may be true, because I’ve seen it happen at Celtic, but this idea that there is a “style” to their play is for the birds.
He signed players to fit a simple template, the high punt, in the arrogance that Scottish defences could not cope with 1980’s style football played with physically imposing players.
This is not how Jackson attempted to describe it.
“What Beale is attempting to create is a fluid, interchangeable, attacking unit which is almost impossible to predict and capable of doing damage to its opponents from every conceivable angle,” he wrote, and then added. “Jurgen Klopp describes it as ‘heavy metal football’ and that’s the kind of tune Beale is hoping to get out of his squad, now that he has spent a small fortune bringing his own band together over the summer.”
What has he been smoking, and where can you buy it?
The Mooch is playing the kind of stuff you could see every day if you went down to a red-ash secondary school pitch.
A fluid interchangeable attacking unit? Good God, he really has swallowed the BealeBall nonsense whole, hasn’t he?
There is nothing to indicate that the Ibrox manager would even know where to start in building a team to do that … and to use Jurgen Klopp as the comparison makes Jackson sound like what he is; a prize dolt.
I don’t see any sign that The Mooch is attempting to create any such thing.
In fact, if you look at how they played last season and how they’ve played in pre-season – no difference whatsoever – you see very clearly that he has built a team based on brute force and in roughing up the opposition. Everything they did at the weekend was based on that approach.
Celtic had a recognised style under Ange.
What Jackson has attempted to describe doesn’t even fit the definition of a recognised style; that’s more like players wandering aimlessly and doing what they please.
To do what he’s actually talking about requires footballers several degrees of magnitude better than anything Ibrox is able to purchase.
And anyway; an “attacking unit which is almost impossible to predict” is a goal so unrealistic for a manager with so little experience that it’s chasing unicorns even with an unlimited budget.
He isn’t remotely capable of plotting that out or making it happen. He came to the SPFL because he thought it was an easy gig, not because he thought it was a good place to attempt to re-write the Football Tactics Bible. The very idea of it is laughable.
They are a club which lives in a fantasy world, so it’s not a great surprise that fantastical solutions to their problems are what Jackson is pushing here.
His own doubts that The Mooch can pull this off are not too thinly disguised. He has serious reservations. He knows the difference between talking about something and executing it and he sees with his own eyes that there is a huge gap between the bluster and the reality.
He hasn’t yet gotten to the point of contemplating the consequences if The Mooch can’t pull it off, especially when he’s been given so much money, but Celtic fans are entitled to watch with wry amusement as he and others ratchet up the pressure.
I suspect that it’s already obvious to some of the people inside and outside Ibrox that this is already unravelling.
As I said this morning, Gary Keown, although not the sharpest tool on the box, has raised a very interesting point about The Mooch not being the current board’s man, and so there’s already a dotted line around his neck on all those team photos … it might not take much until they invite him in to discuss his position.