There’s Your Warning, Rodgers. Do Not Let Others At Celtic Roll Dice With Your Reputation.

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Absolutely appalling. A scandalous performance, from everyone from the team on the park to the man on the touchline.

His decision to make his first significant substitutions nothing but like for like swaps was the kind of ineptitude I would have expected from Lennon, whose cup competition record was embarrassingly bad. I did not expect it from the man who had five cup wins out of five.

This is what comes from coasting. This is what it comes from people at this club believing that we can get by putting in the bare minimum. There are some who will accuse our board of it; certainly, there is no argument that this window has been massively underwhelming. Thus far. But see, that’s the point. When “thus far” includes a key game in a major cup competition then all this foot dragging and messing about has consequences.

Last year’s treble winners have surrendered one of their trophies. There was never any suggestion today, nothing that I saw, that we’d have scored if those much-heralded changes from England were already introduced here and we’d had seventy more minutes instead of seven. There was nothing there today to encourage us. Nothing.

From the start of the window, we were all enthused to see what a Brendan Rodgers Mk2 Celtic team was going to look like.

I like the signings. Most of them. But we were all waiting to see what ideas Rodgers himself had. Now we know that we’re not going to find out. The manager himself told us that on Friday, and I felt my heart sink.

All my confidence about this window – which people have been telling me for weeks was misplaced anyway – evaporated.

Because this is a Desmond, Lawwell & Lawwell production we’re watching, and Rodgers made it clear that he’s signed up for that.

More fool him. It is lunacy. His own record of seven trophies out of seven was only the first casualty of that madness. It will almost certainly not the last casualty of it.

Something is badly, badly out of whack at Celtic right now.

Europe is going to be disastrous. I can’t even contemplate it soberly.

What’s left of our continental reputation is going to be absolutely shredded.

Nobody watching that can have the slightest doubt that all that awaits us at the top table is a ghastly, sickening reminder that we don’t belong there, and we have a leadership – what a word – which doesn’t even make the slightest pretence that they believe we do.

This morning I lauded the possibility of us signing a 21 year old from Denmark; I am just glad an obvious problem is being addressed … but that I am ready to accept a 21 year old from Denmark tells you how low my own expectations for the rest of this window are.

The papers have us linked with Patrick Roberts today. I am almost certain that’s ridiculous, because it seems too ridiculous to possibly be true, but you just never know with this club, you just never know.

If our much vaunted “worldwide scouting network” leads us to Sunderland, and a player we’ve had here before and who has bounced around various clubs for two or three years, or worse, some Manchester City project player, do not be in the least bit surprised.

Roberts and Tierney on loan. I half expect it now.

I certainly do not expect a marquee signing, or something that makes us forget what we just watched, something that erases the doubts Rodgers revived when he told us on Friday he’d work with what they gave him.

As such, I don’t expect to hear him complain about today.

That’s the hand they dealt you, it was your job to play it to the best of your ability.

I do not expect anything but more of the same, because he says he accepts that and the man at the helm of the club has previous for a policy of “one step ahead of Ibrox but no more.”

We’ve gone from having a manager here who was in almost full control to the shock of seeing Brendan Rodgers playing the role of glove puppet to those who were instrumental in his early departure from the club the last time he was here.

Last night, I watched Fabian Scharr of Newcastle keep at bay the greatest striker in world football. He was one of the players Rodgers identified in that disgraceful summer transfer window where he was fobbed off instead with a Kilmarnock reject.

And who was that guy signed as an alternative to? John McGinn, who I watched today give a bravura performance for Aston Villa, including scoring the opening goal in their game against Everton.

That’s the road not taken, because people with no experience whatsoever of what a football manager needs decided that he wasn’t to have them. Those people are back in charge. Those people again have their hand on the tiller.

That shambles of a window was almost certainly a factor in our leaving the Champions League that year at the hands of AEK Athens. It was definitely a factor in Rodgers’ decision to go to Leicester City.

I have a bad feeling about all of this now. This club finished last season as strong as it has ever been in my living memory, and all we had to do was build on that and increase our strength. It would not have been hard to do.

The money is there. The intent clearly is not.

There is no point in bringing in a manager with the calibre of Brendan Rodgers only to impose on him the same blueprint he fled from last time, which resulted in Lennon and lost us ten in a row.

The first of our three trophies is gone, and I couldn’t give a toss where it ends up now. I am worried about the two which are left and I can’t even face thinking about the Champions League. A club with lower-case ambition got what it deserved today.

Had we made some effort, had we went out and bought obvious quality, the sort of players who you knew were a major improvement on what we’ve got, had we just had a bad day at the office, we could have lived with that.

I think Holm and Yang will definitely give us something good. I am sure the centre backs will be fine, although if we’d not replaced Starfelt with one of them I wonder if both would not be warming the bench with a fully fit Carter Vickers in the side … and that tells its own story. None of these guys, not one of them, is an obvious upgrade.

And that’s the standard we’ve all been looking for.

An obvious upgrade on what we had.

As it stands we will be lucky, I think now, to find a player who fills Jota’s position; the idea that we’ll find a better player with the people in charge deciding the policy seems ridiculous.

This club prefers to roll dice. It prefers to gamble.

It will not build strength on top of strength. It is ever changing but it refuses to evolve. Even the hiring of Rodgers, which I supported, which I still support although whatever his style was today it leaves a lot to be desired and was predictable and awful, his is an ambitious appointment without being one that shows the least imagination.

As long as this is Dermot Desmond and Peter Lawwell’s club we will betray an absence of strategic thinking.

These two have no idea how to progress this club to the next level, and the second Ange Postecoglou was out the door we were left again with a gigantic void as these men had to come up with a plan for our future.

They didn’t look around at who else might be out there, they went back to a known name.

We appointed a CEO from within the existing structure.

There was no search for the best possible candidate. Of all the available people to be the head of recruitment, are we really supposed to believe that the absolute best man there was just happened to be the chairman’s son?

Laziness, nepotism, a handful of individuals making the key decisions … and now they’re back in charge of transfer policy, and this today is a consequence of that, and Brendan Rodgers has been embarrassed and humiliated and his own proud record lies in ruins. We are out of the first cup competition before the end of August.

Failure is an orphan, they say, whilst success has a thousand fathers. Nobody ever wants to own a disaster. But sometimes its obvious who is to blame. Today was not just a bad day at the office. This was something we’ve seen before.

The last two years are nothing now but a blissful memory.

This is now business as usual.

A for-profit football club and people more interested in strengthening the balance sheet than the team sheet. Brendan Rodgers, standing on the touchline today, must already be wondering what in God’s name he was thinking. He has eleven days to push these people and get what he needs, not what they want to give him.

And if he doesn’t do that, then he is the mug the chairman plainly takes him for … and today will come to seem like one of his better days before he decides he’s had enough.

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  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Think we should all calm doon a bit. Aye that was poor today and ah don’t trust this board either, tho we’ve still players tae come back from injury and there’s still time, albeit tight, tae bring in more players. Tbh, we cannae expect a treble EVERY season. See whit develops in the next 11 days.

  • king murdy says:

    did cal mac leave with ange ??????
    i haven’t seen him since the cup final…..
    absolutely atrocious today…..i know the press will hammer us for that….because we deserve it…
    i have watched the huns matches….lack of a system is comical….we are exactly the same…exactly.
    mcgregor’s disappearance is scary…..apart from running around waving his arms…he’s done nothing…both our full backs are awful…as for our midfield…..
    i feel for kyogo and maeda….how do you say “what the fuk” in japanese ?
    i really think the huns champions league record is in danger this season.

    i have an awful feeling this ain’t gonna end well……


    • Damian says:

      No, but he’s struggling without the inverted full backs, or a double-pivot to support him. He’d have struggled without either of those last season, or any season, just as he struggled to be the double pivot for a basically immobile but undroppable Brown in 20-21. I love McGregor but if that’s the system (one 6 with two 8s generally much further forward and both full backs pushing on the outsides), he’d be better utilised elsewhere or not at all.

  • Damian says:

    What a perfectly level-headed and reasonable response to the match.

  • Wee Gerry says:

    That is a great assessment, James.

    You have nailed it on every front.

    Our worst fears since AP left have now been fully realised and I knew it on Friday after Rodgers’ press conference as you did yourself.

    ‘Business as usual.’

    All to keep the Huns ‘competitive’ with us.


  • Celt4eva says:

    Totally agree with this. It seems we’ve gone back to the pre Ange way of things in relation to signing unknown youngsters hoping they come good and a profit is made. Already dreading European nights with what I have seen so far

  • Sarah says:

    Thank you so much James. Spot on. The failure of management to get Taylor to lie down on pitch for treatment speaks to our lack of game management. Failure to get Kennedy sent to stand for screaming at 4th official for Haksabanovic penalty. Silent coward mutes on touchline

  • Bunter says:

    They say never go back. Well we’ve got two of them back amongst us. Peter Lawwell and Brendan Rodgers. An interfering idiot at the very top and the guy who walked mid season for a lesser club in Engerland and cost us 10 in a row. Back to the future right enough.

  • Bob (original) says:

    I did like that Ange didn’t have any probelms making substitutions during

    half time: no pissing about with “give it 10 minutes in the second half”.

    Today, BR waited until 20 minutes into the second half before making a substitution.

    The first half was atrocious, and nothing was happening for us.

    Shocked that he stuck with the same 11 for the start of the second half.

    • Therese Storrie says:

      Unfortunately I have to agree James This had better not be a sign of things to come
      There had better be a signing that will give them a shake If BR wants to keep his reputation he better have a better plan than yesterday and hope this is not going to be the norm just a very bad day at the office
      The Huns will be laughing in their zombie shell

  • Drew says:

    We need a midfielder with a bit of much pressure on calmac..who is not dealing with it at the moment

  • Brian McNally says:

    Excellent piece. Perfectly sums up the financial mindset of Desmond, his board stooges and, of course, Lawwell and son.
    Wonder what enticed Rodgers to return after he walked out after cash for players became tight in 2018/19 & we blew the McGinn deal?
    Makes me very suspicious about the deal he actually agreed to and the bonuses he was promised and what they were for.

  • Devine says:

    Since Rodgers came in I’ve been under the impression there seems to be a real lack of urgency all around the club at the moment. particularly when you look at the transfer strategy. That lack of urgency seems to have been transmitted onto the field as well. We are nowhere near as relentless and high energy as Ange’s team last season. I’m not sure I’m entirely convinced by Rodgers as a tactical coach- his record in Europe the last time he was here and his record over all is pretty mediocre- and again yesterday I do think he has to shoulder a large proportion of the responsibility for that shambles.
    First of all you need to score early against Kilmarnock at rugby park or you inevitably struggle. Last season we Kyogo scored early twice in each of our wins and in the 4-1 game we scored all our goals before 30 mins. Yesterday we should have been 3 nil up after 15 mins- had we at least scored one of our chances then Kilmarnock would have capitulated. Besides this why did Rodgers start with Maeda and Abada yesterday? Last season we had Jota, who has guile and creativity. Maeda and Abada have pace but no creativity. We needed creativity to start down the wings when we knew there was no space. Yang and Haksabanovic should have started yesterday. Maeda and Abada should come on as subs in places like Rugby park when players are tired and they will get more space. If Celtic had scored early I suppose Abada and Maeda would have had space behind when Kilmarnock pushed up, but that of course didn’t happen.
    I don’t think any of the central defenders are to blame for yesterday, both played fairly well, considering the conditions. The fullbacks are not good enough. Ralston is SPL standard and Taylor only a slight cut above. I thought after Taylors injury Bernabei would have been a better shout as we needed to get forward. Again this was a poor Rodgers decision- why did he wait until the 65 mins to make the subs and 75 mins to being on our only ‘creative’ player in Hasksabanovic? MacGregor and O’reilly ( despite his good first 20 mins start) were awful- Holm actually made his presence felt even if he wasn’t playing much better and inevitably he is the one taken off.
    Overall I do think we are being guilty of a major over reaction here- these sort of pitches at Rugby park can be real levellers ( the huns have just been beaten there). They should probably have had a player sent off yesterday with that Kennedy elbow on Taylor and we almost certainly should have had a penalty with the Haksa foul in the box. VAR has been a disaster for Celtic. Yes we need signings. We need a GK. We need a LB. We need to replace the creativity since Jota left. We do have Johnston, Carter Vickers, Hatate to come back. Then we will be stronger. But we do have to make the transfer window count in the next 10 days or so.

  • Iljas Baker says:

    We’re missing: Al Johnson, CCV, Carl Starfelt, Hatate, Jota, Mooy -all regular and successful starters. That’s 6 out of 10 outfielders! Taylor is way off form as is Calmac, probably due to the transition. No wonder there’s no sense of identity or unity as some have said. Maybe Starfelt’s compatriot will be able or even an upgrade but he needs time and a unified team to work within. Not sure what’s happening with Hatate but certainly we’ve no replacements of same standard for Jota or Mooy. MOR could be thought by some as a Mooy replacement but he’s still too young to have the game intelligence of Mooy and our wingers Abada and Maeda are too limited in what they offer – too inconsistent and one dimensional to make up for loss of Jota. And we had no substitute striker. No wonder BR made changes late – I think that was forced on him. As you all know whatever the question is Turnbull is too inconsistent to be the answer. He can’t really give the energy and drive that Hatate can. Then add the plastic pitch into the mix! It’s no wonder we lost to a good Killie team who are disciplined and know how to defend. We still need some seriously good players in if we are to compete in the CL. I’m sure everyone knows using the remainder of the transfer window well will define a lot of things for us and BR.

  • JimBhoy says:

    Let’s hope this is the wake up call we needed. I’d rather drop out of the league cup than lose 3 league points so maybe it is a timely reminder that we need some fresh ideas.

    Firstly the pitch is atrocious, even the killie players were beaten by the bounce and back spin. Public park surface in the SPFL.

    What happened to the rule of getting the ball on the park quicker, the ball boys were under orders not to. Time wasting by the Killie players was an embarrassment too.

    In saying that Celtic could have played all day and not scored.

    Shape was terrible. When Kyogo comes into his own half to accept a throw in that should say it all. Maeda was poor and should have been the winger sacrificed. He also looks injured.

    Lennie was right we need another striker. Where is the Ozzie winger? Neither full back seemed interested in a scrap. Desperately need a solid LB.

    O’Riley as I have stated many times before is a bit of a luxury player, we need a bit of midfield steel.

    A lot of injuries to contend with but we should have enough about us to dispatch Killie.

    Brendan should be looking to get 3 or 4 players in ready to go in the first team. Keeper, LB, Midfielder and Striker.

  • Davie says:

    Many good points made.
    Celtic have been set up to fail.

    Slow play.
    Pass backs.
    Sole striker in midfield.
    Taylors gone back the way.
    No one in penalty box to receive ball.
    Maeda off the boil, but constantly covering for Taylor who’s AWOL.
    A team has to be motivated from kick off, celtic were not at the races until last eight mins.
    Killie were well set up.

    I detest pass backs only for ball to go to Hart who belts it up the park for kyogo against 6ft defenders.
    Tempo is back to when Brendan left.
    Going to be a poor season with lack of movement,

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