This morning, in his weekly column for The Record, Keith Jackson tried to sound smart. He used the word “acquiescence.” His editors were so impressed they tried to get the word into the headline.
Sadly, for them, they made a proper mess of it and so it reads like gibberish. But it’s no less painful than the article itself ended up being, for all he tried to come off as clever.
The piece is about Rodgers, and it’s a snark piece rather than an attack. It suggests that the manager will have to get tough in his dealings with the board, and presents the manager as someone biting his lip.
If so, he’s not biting it terribly well because he’s put his feelings about the squad firmly on the record and there’s little doubt that the message has been received.
Regular readers will know that I fully praised the E-Tims podcast boys after the game at Ibrox.
One of the more interesting elements of that podcast which I haven’t already touched on was the way they viewed Brendan’s initial scepticism about the team and what might have changed his mind. It is easy to view this as a good strong Celtic squad from afar, but once you get up close and personal with it you find things about it that you didn’t know at a distance.
And they speculated that what has happened to Rodgers since the window shut is that he has slowly, but surely, come to recognise that in fact the strategy might play into his hands.
Because he will have seen how good this team is, how good some of these young players might prove to be, and he will know that a manager of his ability can craft them into an immense side, for which he can take all the well deserved plaudits and get the glory.
I like that theory. I might not subscribe to it the whole way, but it offers an explanation for why Rodgers is ready and willing to work inside the system. I have no doubt that he will use his considerable power to tweak it to his liking, and recent comments do suggest that it will be more to way of thinking in January … but when he says that he broadly agrees with the way things are done, we have no reason to disbelieve it.
It’s not so much a Damascene conversion as it is a more fully developed understanding of what Celtic has built, and maybe that’s given him a fresh perspective on things.
The mainstream media will never even consider that an option.
If you’ll forgive me a little dip into Warhammer lore (this one is strictly for the real geeks who I am sure will be delighted at the reference), these people continue to wander about in the pundits version of the Crystal Labyrinth in the Realm of Tzeentch, a maze which changes its shape every time the poor sod in it makes a new turn, so that he eventually goes insane.
For our hacks, the riddle of Rodgers return is virtually unsolvable.
They keep looking for it, and the more they dig and come up short the more desperate the digging becomes.
To get back to my analogy, they turn left, then right, then left, then right and walk for miles and never get closer to the heart of the matter than they are right now, and whilst they are looking for that answer, Rodgers just gets on with doing his thing, and none of them will spot that, in fact, that’s been the answer all along. This is what he came back here to do.
Jackson misses the point entirely. He doesn’t need an ever-shifting maze to start foaming at the mouth, because it comes naturally to him.
But where he really leaves the path of sanity and goes wandering amidst shimmering Hell is when he repeats Keevins nutty assertion of yesterday that Rodgers’ decision to go with Forrest means that he doesn’t rate the new signings at all.
“(He) couldn’t even trust them to take care of things at the Tony Macaroni on Saturday, when he turned to old stager James Forrest rather than start with either Luis Palma or Yang Hyun-jun on Celtic’s right wing. That’s a clear indication Rodgers is far from convinced that either of these wide men are any better than what he had inside his dressing room when he took over,” he writes.
It’s actually a clear indication that these folk are warped by their own bias.
Forrest has played at that ground a hundred times.
It was horses for courses, that’s all.
Rodgers picked people he knew could handle that gruesome plastic pitch, and that’s all he did. There’s no hidden meaning behind it all, he selected the best people he had to hand for the job. We have a squad of more than 30 players, and that’s a toolbox from which a top manager can dip in and out at his leisure, to craft the team for each separate encounter.
Once the red card happened and we decided to tighten up the formation we lost all possibility of seeing Yang or Palma even coming on as subs as we went 4-3-2. This is obvious to even a layperson like me. Why is it difficult for a senior sportswriter to comprehend?
Honestly, our “sports media” don’t have half the talent of the average college journalism student, and I would bet on the journalism student being more clued up about the game. Standards have fallen so far that it’s part of the headline when the writer uses a big word.
If only he was able to write properly, or even to understand what it is that he’s watching.