I like to dive deep into complex issues.
I enjoy reading all the different arguments and seeing all the different sides of a debate.
But there are some issues which only appear to be complex until you properly do a little digging. The question about what’s gone wrong at Celtic would have a hundred different answers if you asked five hundred people, but in fact it’s fairly straightforward, because the truth of it was evident yesterday out on the pitch.
The team that started the game was materially weaker than the one which finished the last campaign. The team that finished the game was an embarrassment for a club which has so much wealth sitting in the bank. Of the eight permanent summer signings, two were in that squad and one of them, I’m convinced of it, is the manager trolling us because Kwon shouldn’t be near Celtic Park far less on the bench for the first team.
David Turnbull started the match although the club has not offered him a new contract. Mikey Johnston started it, I think to prove to everyone watching that he should never have got his last one, and if we’re not in his final few weeks as a Celtic player that will be appalling because he’s nowhere near it. Bernabei, I had forgotten was even at the club and it’s inconceivable that he’s going to be here much longer. That’s what the manager was working with.
The manager did himself no favours in the way he’s set the team up. There’s no movement to open up space, we continue to fumble about at corner kicks to an extent which has become like a bad joke. The only person surprised that Hearts scored from a corner yesterday appeared to be Joe Hart, who I cannot be bothered even trying to defend one minute longer. His positioning for the free kick … oh wow.
We spent a good bit of money on the summer transfer business; we brought in ten players and most of us found that virtually incomprehensible. But in fact, the needs of this squad are obvious and we do require major reinforcements. But the moment the manager stated openly that he would “work with the players I’m given” we all knew we had a problem.
He doesn’t rate a single one of those players. Perhaps not even Palma, who I get the feeling is in the team for the same reason Mikey Johnston is; lack of other options. The sale of Jota left an enormous hole on the right and left sides of the team and we’ve come nowhere near to replacing him. The two project punts that Brendan got stuck with instead … it’s dreadful.
The recruitment has been horrific, and you could not get a clearer example of a club being run by people who are completely at cross-purposes. The manager does not like the hand he’s been dealt, although presumably he had some idea of what that hand would be when he came in.
But nobody should be defending the head of recruitment on the basis that the manager isn’t, after all, simply prepared to work with what’s in front of him … his verdict on the summer business could not be any clearer if he spraypainted it on Lawwell’s company car.
This is not a breakdown in working relationships here. There don’t seem to be relationships here at all. There is no coherence. There is no structure worth a damn.
This whole thing is a complete shambles and that was always going to end up reflected out there on the pitch, and when you look at the squad, he picked yesterday it doesn’t take a genius to see what’s wrong here … when Mikey Johnston is starting games for want of a better option who do you blame for that?
When the club brings in ten players and we start with a weaker team than the one that finished the last campaign, whose fault is it?
And that question sort of answers itself, doesn’t it?