What was the logic for bringing Brendan Rodgers back to Celtic?
What was the central concept?
That this was a modern manager, with tactical flexibility and a vision for this team which included bringing his own players and enforcing his own will. Right now, not one bit of that is valid.
Not one of those reasons exists.
We forgave two early victories where we looked a shadow of the side we were lasts season.
Last week was a like a throwback to the worst of Neil Lennon.
This week was inept and horrific to watch. You would not believe that this was a treble winning team last season.
They look bereft of ideas and inspiration. They look flat-footed and fearful. And on the touchline the man in charge looks like he’s going through the motions. There is no fire, no passion, none of the things you expect to see from Rodgers.
This has been a hellish week at our club, and the start of it wasn’t even the Kilmarnock game but what he said in his press conference just before it, when he made it clear that his role at the club is to coach the players he is given.
He has no excuse today.
Those are the players he was given and those players, the bulk of them, won a treble last year.
He isn’t even getting the minimum out of this squad right now.
His calls for more, for “quality” are understandable, but in all the ways that matter they are a pale excuse he shouldn’t be allowed to get away with. How much more quality did he need to get past Kilmarnock and St Johnstone?
I said after the game last week that it wasn’t the back line who scared me but the abject performances of those at the sharp end, those whose job it is to win games. They were the issue last week. They were the issue today.
But more and more, Rodgers is becoming the subject of the discussion and those of us who thought it was a good appointment did so, based on what we’re watching right now, on a major misapprehension; that he had a vision and was in complete command of it.
The moment he told us last Friday that he was not, in fact, in charge of that vision the first brick fell out of the wall.
If he’s content to let those above him decide what players he has, he can’t complain about the players he has, even if this window doesn’t deliver anything further.
He has enough experience dealing with the hierarchy at this club to know how that ends, and if he thinks he can hide behind that if this all goes wrong he needs his head read.
That won’t save him when the board are sharpening their axe and it won’t save him when the media are sharpening their pens.
They will point to the team he inherited , remind people it won everything and was capable of playing dazzling football, they will point to the tens of millions spent on it to enhance it and even accounting for injuries he will have no place to hide.
And he deserves to have no place to hide.
I don’t see a leader right now. I see a man being buffeted by events and incapable of reacting to them. I see a man flailing and trying to deflect. The responsibility for it all lies at his door.
The loss of Jota does not explain the regression in our front players.
The loss of Carter Vickers and the backline hasn’t seen us concede a flood of goals.
Our problems are middle to front and it’s down to him to fix that. He, after all, is the one who broke it and whilst it is the manager’s prerogative to put his own ideas in place that’s only valid if those ideas are actually working.
Right now they’re not.
Right not this team is awful to watch.
If he’s the leader we think and hope he is he would be leading off the field instead of presenting himself as the board’s talking glove puppet. I don’t remember him being this terrible at man management either, but he’s definitely gone backwards in that regard.
The players hear him talk about needing more quality and a better class of player and they are entitled to feel insulted as they proved they were good enough in the last campaign.
If he doesn’t get the players he wants then he’s not only offended the current team but will come across looking hopelessly weak.
And you know what? Maybe he is.
If he genuinely has allowed himself to be shoehorned into the role of accepting what he’s given then to be frank he deserves everything that he gets. I can only think of one person on the planet who recently demonstrated such staggering naivety in believing he’d have the backing of people who once screwed him over, and he was neatly dispatched by Vladimir Putin this week.
This seems destined to an equally happy ending.
When Ange Postecoglou was being interviewed for the Celtic gig, he didn’t know these people or their record for “backing managers” by expecting them always to do more with less.
But he still asked for, and demanded, and got, total control.
For all he knew that could have been the deal-breaker, but he would not have taken the job without it.
His command of the club was one of the foundation stones of our success.
It did not matter what way you looked at Celtic, he was the front man, the commanding figure. I called him the architect in a piece at the end of the first season and I thought of him that way thereafter. Rodgers, right now, is less like the architect than the guy you bring in to unblock the toilet. He cuts a highly unimpressive figure.
And if this is who we got, then he’s not going to last and it could be fast and it will definitely be ugly.
This guy was not a popular choice.
It was not a celebrated appointment.
He had only so much good will in the bank, and his account was not exactly overflowing with it.
His staggering admission about leaving other people to run transfer policy was already deeply troubling.
Then Kilmarnock beat us. Now this.
Ibrox is next, in front of a 100% home support and if we lose that we’ll have gone out of the League Cup and flogged a thee point league lead in a fortnight, and for all this board has played its own dire role in that he has done it with a squad that won the lot last year and is kidding himself on if he thinks he can hide behind the directors and the policy he accepted and signed up for.
Because even if we were willing to let him they will throw him to the wolves without a second thought if it keeps the scrutiny off of them. Right now, a lot of our fans wouldn’t even complain about that outcome and that should scare him badly. If he’s not going to lead, and articulate a vision, this job is going to chew him up and spit him out.