This Celtic Board Has Created A Negative Perception And Now They Have To Live With It.

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When Mark Lawwell was hired, a lot of people assumed that because he worked at the City Group that he was part of the global elite of scouting and development.

Most of them don’t even know what his role at The City Group was.

They perceived that because he was there, and they are an elite club, that he was of the required standard for Celtic, and might even have been a coup we were lucky enough to be able to pull off because of his family connection to the club.

Other people said that it was only his family connection which got him hired in the first place.

So, he’s from the City Group. Big deal.

The actual job he did there is the subject of some dispute.

Those people looked at his hiring and saw only his second name, and concluded that with Lawwell Snr having lost his grip on the club by his removal from the CEO position that this was a way of putting in place someone at the football department he could operate by remote control.

Now, those are two conflicting views and both of them can’t be true at the same time.

I personally lean more towards the second than the first.

I said at the time that it was “a ghastly indictment of our internal decision-making process” and scorned the idea that we had conducted a search for the best man. I perceived it as another appointment to shore up the positions of those already in the boardroom and who’ve failed to provide an overarching strategy at Celtic for far too long.

It is important to recognise how you are perceived.

When people think you’re an arrogant clown based on what they’ve heard from others, it’s best that when you first meet them that you don’t act like an arrogant clown. Because most people will never give that a second look, they will never see you in any other way whether it’s true or not. They started out with a negative perception, and the first thing you did was confirmed that for them. End of.

Celtic fans who supported the Lawwell appointment needed to see something that confirmed their perception of the man.

Those who didn’t support it were waiting to see something that confirmed theirs.

Who has had the most success with that so far? What is the perception of that appointment today? Are the doubters being won over … or are those who supported it starting to sway in the other direction? I think we all know which way the wind’s blowing.

Is it fair? Excuse me if I indulge in some gentle laughter at the question.

Because that could not matter less. If people believe it then it might as well be true, because the effects on morale and confidence in the system are exactly the same.

When a lot of our fans look at this transfer window, they see a manager forced to tolerate a policy which takes us to a point, rolls us backwards and then inches us forward until it rolls us back again.

They see a policy which puts money in the bank ahead of the team the manager has to work with, a policy which many believe is based on staying just one step ahead of any domestic challenger, but which leaves us weak and easy pickings for top sides.

Have you ever seen one of those pictures which is made up of two images, one in white and one in black?

There is a famous one of what is either white birds on a black background or black birds on a white one. One image cannot exist without the other, but the observer can only ever properly see one image at a time.

Whether Peter Lawwell hired his son because that’s what father’s sometimes do, and Celtic promoted Michael Nicholson as CEO because he was Lawwell’s number two or if these guys were actually qualified and capable will be entirely up to the way that you view this.

But people who see white birds on a black background can see that because that pattern is there, whereas those who see black birds on a white one see that because the pattern is there too … and what no-one can argue successfully is that this was the best we could get.

Who cares if they are good at their jobs?

They will never be able to do those jobs well enough to satisfy some of our fans, and the board may loathe that thinking but it is their own damned fault that they are judged not as good custodians but as people who are basically leeching off Celtic and carving it up for themselves because that picture exists if you want to look at it that way.

If they wanted the person in the CEO’s job to be judged in a balanced, rational and fair-minded manner instead of being looked at as another sham appointment, they should have conducted their search in the light of day and hired an outsider to come in with fresh ideas.

An internal appointment screamed of arrogance and complacency. Michael Nicholson could have been an undiscovered gem and he’d never have got a fair hearing because he was seen as Lawwell’s man.

I like the guy. I think he was a damned good job working with Ange, but that was before the “head of scouting” was added to the mix with the name Lawwell attached, and before the guy who used to be his boss came back as the chairman, and is therefore his boss again. Nicholson might well be the biggest victim of this gruesome bit of inside baseball.

Likewise, if this club wanted the head of scouting to be judged for his qualifications and the work he did rather than on his second name, they had the whole world they could have hired rather than the guy who had that second name.

Does it matter if he was the genius behind the Ange signings if half our support doesn’t actually believe that?

He will be judged on his failures, that’s for sure, because the section of our support which abhors his hiring is waiting for something to blame on him. Fair? If this board wanted fair they should have hired somebody else.

These people, from Desmond on down, have created a perception of Celtic as a club run by a tiny clique which is determined to project its own power above and beyond anything else, a club run by people who do believe themselves responsible for all our successes and see the players and even the manager as mere underlings doing their own bidding.

Who cares if its true?

If it looks like and smells like it do we really need to taste it to know what it is?

This stinks and it looks like shit and if this uninspiring transfer window ends without the significant strengthening of this playing squad people are going to conclude that we’re back to where we were when Rodgers walked out the first time, and whether that’s true or not when you see the same names involved in the process, that’s how it’ll be perceived.

They have ten days. That’s the window to alter the perception.

It’s already too late to defend our treble, and already they’re being blamed for that … they have no idea how precarious their positions just got. This club was in a commanding position and if most of the people in our support believe that we’ve been allowed to start drifting backwards instead of going forward they will know who to blame.

They won’t care what’s true and what’s not, we don’t know what goes on inside the club so we look at the big picture and we see a single image, and that single image couldn’t exist if it wasn’t there. It’s right there in black and white, even if the picture’s actually white and black. The people running our club allowed that perception to exist. They brought it into being.

Come what may they are going to have to own that.

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  • Tony B says:

    It’s a rigged game at our club, just as it’s rigged all the way to the SFA, and Celtic’s custodians appear happy with the situation, to the extent that they will never speak out about the obvious cheating or the assaults on our players.
    These people are not Celtic supporters; their own best interests come first.
    Nothing to see here. Move on.

    • charles says:

      When you see players turning their backs on the referees who are making these decisions against the club this has to stop. I am not suggesting a bunch of players surrounding the ref but somebody has to ask the question on why that decision was made especially when it is so blatantly wrong.

  • SSMPM says:

    We need a balanced approach to progress this 1st team/squad. Experience for the 1st team, youth for the squad development. The current one, rigid immovable model, is only strengthening the bank account and bonuses at the consequence of progressing the 1st team. The board as a result of a couple of good years and Ange’s talented imports appear to think they have it all under their egotistical control. Think on.
    It’s not yet too late to adapt that model and thinking and still make the club money but that will require honest self critical reflection at the board and management level, and a willingness to invest in experienced 1st team talent opposed to their profit and greed. I’m not asking them to blow the bank, simply balance their model with some consideration for the fans. HH

  • Iljas Baker says:

    I get it that people are worried but on paper some of our newer signings look quite promising not simply long term prospects but they’ve been thrown in at the deep end and even more experienced players take time to find their feet. Buying more experienced expensive players but not effectively retired is a more difficult task to accomplish as answers to the following questions will tell you:
    1. Do they see Celtic as a stepping stone to greater things?
    2. Do they really want to come to Scotland to play their football?
    3. Are they in demand with bigger club/leagues than Celtic/SPFL?
    4. Are they willing to take a wage cut?

    Getting this kind of player is obviously going to take longer than getting a younger less experienced player who sees Celtic as a stepping stone to bigger things. Maybe we haven’t just been dilly dallying this window.
    I’ll reserve my judgement till the transfer window closes.

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      The only problem is IIjas is that you simply don’t get that time to find your feet in Scotland’s crazed footy world…

      And of course in Glasgow – If you’re not first (or fast) then you’re last !

      Ange was certainly fast – Beale has been fast with transfers this window – Celtic have not been…

      Time will tell who will prevail I guess – But the deck is well stacked against Celtic as it is (muir & co yesterday) without dithering on transfers…

      There again Lawwell is back so enough said…

    • Martin says:

      Good grief! Some sense at last. Well said!

      I think we can get a lot more out of our current squad, maybe it’s a time thing. But I’m not delighted with our approach to games so far, which is a bigger concern than recruitment for me. We have a decent squad if used right. And where the hell is Iwata? Player of the year in Japan, looks good whenever he plays yet can’t get minutes despite our powder puff midfield?

  • Bob (original) says:

    Just had a wicked thought.

    With a Treble winning squad losing its manager at short notice…

    why didn’t our insular, parochial Board just reach out for Lenny, yet again?

    He’d be cheap and agree to no new signings, whilst keep everything the same,

    and he just might have won the league against Beale?!

    Bet Lawwell was itching to bring Lenny back in for buttons?

    If BR doesn’t do anything in Europe,

    then Lenny might have been the cheaper option for the same result? 🙁

  • john clarke says:

    I read on a Celtic site recently, that Ange and Michael Nicholson together, filtered Lawwell
    the Younger’s suggestions. Ange had a high regard for Mark…so he said.
    Cohesion in the team may take time with new and returning First players.
    There will always be new players that don’t meet expectations. Fans will be counting
    these later in the season. Last game, Celtic had 70% of the possession; three times more
    passes and 8 corners to 4. You would expect more “Go-Forward”.

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    I can see BOTH images at once……..what can this mean ?

    • James Forrest says:

      You get the point I’m making, right? Yeah? It’s clear is it?

      • Kevan McKeown says:

        @JF. Just havin a wee laugh. Can see what your gettin at. For me, Lawwell jnr. was brought in, more importantly where his fathers concerned, for ‘strategic’ nepotism over qualification reasons. Nae doubt there imo. Similarities with the Kelly – White regime. Anybody remember useless bastards like Chris White ?? Lawwell isnae daft. Surround yourself with allies and kiss arses and dae wtf ye like.

        • James Forrest says:

          Yeah mate, I need to do a piece on failed states because that’s what they do.

          They eliminate every dissenting voice, listen onlt to what they want to hear … and it all comes tumbling down.

          Recipe for disaster man.

  • Jackson says:

    The board most certainly has created a negative perception of our team from all quarters of the fan base , the so called media are having a field day with BR at the helm once again ….. but thing is it looks like he is not at the helm with the board presenting him with projects THEY think will come good…’s up to BR to sort it out and I would not blame him I’m the least if he walked away again….. maybe that’s what’s needed to get rid of Liewell and co

  • Eldraco says:

    Both views can in fact be true. It’s called cognitive dissonance although for my take on it ? It’s the latter.

    It’s the shit fight we don’t need to have, a rebuild we don’t need to have , money sitting gathering divis for Desmond we don’t need to have , projects galore we don’t need.

    This is Brendan getting in early doors before too much damage is done instead of waiting until it is, only a full fan revolution with Brendan will change anything on that board and get shot of Desmond and lawell for keeps oh! Sure they will tell us the money is banked for lennoxtown but is it?.

    I am more certain than ever that it was more than money and EPL that caused Ange to go south look at them down there, at a full back playing box to box for laughs and they love it! , We had that and we fucked it just like we always do when we look like crushing ipox and now look we are back to the pack with hearts,Hibs et al waiting to rough house the team . CL is a disaster just waiting.

  • SSMPM says:

    I agree with the sentiment and assessment of our younger players and lay no blame at their door for the position they were put in. So far it’s easy to see that there’s talented players there but with talent that needs developing.
    None of them are long term prospects for Celtic FC though because this board will sell them at the first sniff of decent money.
    It’s the board’s job, apparently, to maintain a winning team and it’s their job that they’re not doing well and it seems identifying and hiring such talent/experience is taking a long time not to get there. If that was ever their intention.
    I’m hoping, now the shit’s hit the fan, that they will identify and get them in now. If that is their intention. HH

  • Davd Frame says:

    Brilliant,I could actually imagine the board members staring at a fiery pit by the end & in truth so they should be..excellent.???

  • Michael McCartney says:

    If the Board think that just being a bit better than the Ibrox mob is good enough then they’re more out of touch than we thought. We played badly on Sunday but two dubious refereeing decisions go against us and we’re out of a cup competition. At Ibrox on Saturday the home team were playing badly and 0-1 down when they were awarded a really soft penalty on the say so of VAR. Being a bit better isn’t enough, we’ve got to be a lot better to nullify the influence of cheating referees.
    Celtic’s low key start to the season has got to end, starting from this Saturday. A couple of experienced players being signed is urgently required to bolster the squad and lift the spirits of the supporters.

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      Excellent post Micheal… No doubt having seen the way McInnes intimidated Muir, Steven McLean the St.Johnstone boss might try the same for Saturday…

      I’m sure Steven McLean the manager isn’t bent – Steven McLean the referee certainly is !

      One would think after the Kilmarnock disgraces with whistles and monitors they’d play the laws of the game for both teams competing at Parkhead on Saturday –

      But you know what – I don’t think they care any longer…

      I’m hearing that Viaplay didn’t even comb over that scandalous decision at all…

      Could any Hoops fan that subscribes possibility email them to see why –

      Although in shadowy Scotland you probably wouldn’t receive the curtesy of a reply !

  • king murdy says:

    it’s nepotism….cronyism…cliqueism(?)…call it what u like..
    when an outsider was appointed…dom mckay…he lasted a matter of month’s…
    can anyone tell me why he lasted such a short time?…then of course nicholson, lawwell’s #2 was appointed…and then there is lawwell junior….
    there is an awful stench of peter lawwell about this whole shit show…
    stevie fukn wonder could see we need a goalkeeper…a left back…a more experienced, commanding, centre back, an aggressive, ball winning midfielder and a centre forward…how many fukn wingers do we need?
    but of course, brendan rodgers mk 2 has lost his balls sometime between 2019 and 2023..ffs !!
    we can scoff all we want at the huns….i DREAD the CL now…
    james, you say the board is in a precarious position – they’re not !!! THEY pull all the strings, they don’t care what the fans say…look at the 10IAR season when the fans protested…the board dug their heels in…they treat celtic fans with utter contempt !!
    they STUMBLED into AP…..nothing surer….
    i’ve been watching the ‘tic since 1961…this shower are every bit as bad as the kelly’s and whyte’s etc….shame on the bastards..and shame on that self serving bastard lawwell..
    i fukn hate the smug faced bastard !!!

  • William Melvin says:


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