I saw the headline on the Football Scotland site – “5 Celtic priorities for Brendan Rodgers to target before next international break as Champions League beckons” – and thought “This won’t be at all insightful, but I should read it just in case.”
And guess what? It wasn’t insightful in the least, and I regret reading it. Because it’s five minutes of my life – I interspersed reading it with making coffee – I’m not ever getting back. There was no insight in there, just a guy writing rubbish and attempting to suggest that unless Rodgers scores these things of his little checklist that fans won’t stand for it.
So what are these priorities? Improved performances, opening up the gap with the Ibrox club, start well in the Champions League, get the best out of our new recruits and win back supporter critics. I’m putting it exactly as the writer did and if you are already rolling your eyes, I am not in the least bit surprised because that was my reaction exactly.
Let’s go through them, shall we, one at a time?
Improved performances speaks for itself. Every manager wants improved performances.
Even when we were blowing teams away under Ange his mantra was that the team still had more to find, that there was still better to come, and Rodgers has spoken the same thing time and time again in his own managerial career.
It’s vague, wishy-washy, without substance of form. And it is nonsense as well because we will play some exceptionally tough games in that spell … and I would settle simply for winning them. We don’t have to be brilliant.
I particularly like the idea that Rodgers has to open up the gap.
Even if Celtic win every one of our games, where’s the guarantee that we can do that? The Ibrox club might suddenly hit its own stride. Is our manager to be blamed for that if it happens?
Are we supposed to cat-call and abuse Rodgers because their team didn’t drop points? Was there even a scintilla of thought that went into the writing of this nonsense, or is it just what it looks like; clickbait guff?
Start well in the Champions League. Means what exactly?
Win in Rotterdam, then beat Lazio?
He says three out of six would be excellent, and at least I agree with him on that. I’ve already said that this is a much harder group than people are giving it credit for, and my own expectations for it are tempered by that fact. I think we can get off to a good start, as it happens, but I will not be surprised if we lose both matches because they are very good teams.
As for getting the best out of the new recruits, he says only two have really caught the eye; Yang and Nawrocki.
I don’t know how he can possibly pass judgement on Palma, Bernardo, Tillio or Nat Phillips since none of them – half of the signings almost – have even kicked a ball for us yet.
Holm has done pretty well, and Lagerbiekle just graduated as part of a Celtic team which went to Ibrox and kept a clean sheet. So honestly, I think that point is just nonsense.
As for winning back his “critics” amongst the fans, that’s an easy one. Some of them will never forgive him for walking out last time, and so he’d be wasting his time even trying to reach them. Most of the support are already fully behind him and most of them would have remained so even if we’d lost last weekend.
The man is just getting started again and that win has brought back a lot of the feel-good around the club … his “critics” are small in number and you find more of them in the media, trying to drum up negative stories, than anywhere else.