Ignore The Ugly Rumours. Celtic’s Dressing Room Is United And Ready For Battle.

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It’s the opening that always gets me. That fast guitar riff, launching into the catchy vocals of Second Hand News with those fantastic lyrics which encapsulated Lindsay Buckingham’s feelings about dating new women following his break-up with Stevie Nicks.

That he had to initially present the band with the tune first and keep the lyrics back for later to avoid Nicks losing her mind over them is just one of the many great stories about the album Rumours and the circumstances under which Fleetwood Mac recorded that undisputed masterpiece.

That album was recorded with the band at war with itself. There have been other examples of bands coming together during moments of friction to write a classic but what makes Rumours unique is that those rivers of anger and frustration ended up bubbling up and into the music.

Houses divided don’t usually stand. But sometimes they do, and for a long time. Fleetwood Mac lasted for years after Rumours, helped in no small part by the fact it became an international smash hit which still sells to this day and is played on repeat all over the world.

(I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve sat and listened to it all start to finish; it has to be in the dozens, if not hundreds.)

Even the name of the album is a nod and a wink to what went on during its recording, as the media speculated and lurid stories proliferated.

There are clearly issues at Celtic right now, but that will all play into the idea of this as a special kind of triumph if this team hits form and starts to really rack up the points.

Because even if we’re not a house divided, we’re one under greater scrutiny than we’ve ever been and the club itself is not helping by publicly undermining the manager and with whatever the Hell it is playing at with Liel Abada.

I haven’t known Celtic to be surrounded by such drama as this – and don’t forget, it comes on the back of the Green Brigade saga last year – for a long, long time.

People might think that’s everything a writer who does it every day could possibly want, but it’s actually stressful and tense and gives you emotional whiplash.

Look at it this way; I started the month calling for my fellow fans to be understanding about Abada’s position and decrying those who want him gone from the club.

Before I’ve even got midway through the month the whole saga is beginning to piss me off and it’s now hard to shake the feeling that Abada has spat the dummy … that’s this season in a nutshell as far as I’m concerned. I’ve never known anything like it.

The only thing I’m not wavering on is the responsibility of the board for causing a lot of this, but even then, I was four-square behind them on The Green Brigade ban … and so the sense of being battered from pillar to post is very present in that regard as well.

Who knows what it’s like in the Celtic dressing room right now? I would think the mood is strong, but there are some unhappy people in there, and that’s for sure.

That so many of our players signed new deals in the course of this campaign is obviously promising, although there are clearly issues with one of those guys at the moment … Lagerbielke can’t be a particularly happy chap either and we’d be crazy not to think that’s a self-inflicted wound.

The players have played in weirder situations than this, but this whole season has been played in an odd air of frustration and tension and that has to have gotten through to them a bit. It has to have made something of a difference to how they are playing, and that’s why the last month or so has seen increased calls for the fans to fully get behind them.

Some things don’t change. The weirdness of this season will continue today when the fans do a rendition of Grace for Palestine. As I wrote last night, if they’re not following it up with a rendition of “sack the board” or some variation of that we’re allowing trouble to continue to build under our own roof. Singing it might affect the players … but they aren’t the targets of it at the end of the day, and they have more pressing issues to worry about.

If things inside the club between the manager and the upper echelons are strained as some of us think they’ll understand it if certain sections of the fan-base are giving the board some stick, because they’ll be feeling the strains of that already, and the uncertainty that always accrues around a dressing room and a club when those folks aren’t on the same page.

But sometimes those houses stand. Sometimes they do great things.

Because it’s like soldiers in a battle; they cease to think about the generals who sent them to war or the greater causes they are fighting for, some just and some not or the noise and the smoke all around them and they focus on what matters. When you’re down there in the blood and the mud it’s about you and the guys next to and how the unit holds together.

And they all know one thing, and this is worth keeping in mind; the pain only stops when it’s over, and it’s only over when you’re dead or you’ve won, and a title race is pretty much the same. Now that we have no cushion, now that every game is a must-win you’ll see the true nature of these two teams come out, and I know ours has been over the course before.

If you’ll pardon the pun, we’ve all heard the Rumours.

Some of them are so daft as to not even be worth commenting on, like the one about Rodgers taking himself to Switzerland to meet Desmond and offer his resignation as though that they needed to go all the way over there rather than just organise a Skype conference call.

It doesn’t matter how crazy some of it is, this stuff spreads like the cold in a classroom and once it’s out there it can’t be contained.

But I’m comforted by knowing that teams have been surrounded by chaos before and still won titles. I’m comforted by knowing that no matter what’s going on elsewhere at Celtic Park that things will be decided out on the pitch which is where it really matters and that we still have better players than our rivals and a better man in the dugout and that whenever might be happening in private these guys are awfully good at presenting the dressing room as a unified place.

Which brings me back to Rumours, an album as devastating as it is brilliant.

That Stevie Nicks forevermore had to play in the same band as the man who wrote the bitter lyrics “packing up, shacking up’s, all you wanna do” (referring to, as he saw it, her habit of using other men in the aftermath of the break-up) is a testament to how furious and terrible some of it was in that period, and how all the more remarkable it is that something magical and transcendent came out of it anyway to stand as an unquestionable work of art.

One day we might look at this season the same way.

As something that was endured more than it was enjoyed as it was happening, but that ended as a sum much greater than its parts, with a winning team standing taking a bow in spite of all the tensions, and with a very special achievement and one for the ages in the impact it had on everything around us.

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  • Stewart says:

    Rumours are always about that’s what the mainstream lackeys call exclusives and breaking news,,,, as you know full well more than most,,,the thing that concerns me is that missing statement win, it’s not been in this team since after winter break,,let’s hope it’s today as killie are no mugs, everybody want to see a more direct style of play,

  • Captain Swing says:

    Maybe we should sing ‘Don’t Stop’ instead of ‘Grace’ today……

  • Zeddy says:

    I appreciate the valiant effort but wishful thinking in my view.

    HH come on Celtic !!!

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Very apt as in The Liel Abada saga – For me anyway – It’s now – “Go your own way” –

  • John Copeland says:

    This latest fable is designed to cause as much damage to the morale of everything Celtic FC from those lazy ,inept ,glorified typists which make up the bulk of the SMSM . From now until the season ends a litany of disasters shall be introduced from the tabloid hacks in particular ,whilst everything sweetness and light shall be welcomed by those fine folks in downtown Govanland . All things considered ,I believe that the success of this year’s title will be the most satisfying and enjoyable on record …come May ! My advice if anyone is interested would be to adopt an ‘ignorance is bliss ” mentality until that time . This is going to get really ghastly !

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Need tae keep winnin until we get our full strength back, hopefully soon. Btw, the line ye quoted from Lyndsay Buckingham, Stevie Nicks despised that line because, in her words, she ‘was’nt shackin up with anybody ‘. Can mind LB bein asked about it in a doc and he just shrugged his shoulders and said ‘it’s a line’. Just spite probably. Bugger all tae dae wi the spl, tho interestin just the same.

  • Chris says:

    Greatest album ever made.

  • Super Joe Miller says:

    I always liked your blogs James but recently you have jumped the shark
    The team is horrendous
    The manager is a joke
    Abada wants out and if you can’t see why then maybe you are part of the problem.
    We are a football team.
    I couldn’t give a shit about Palestine,Sudan or anywhere else.
    The Muppets in the corner shame our great club.We weren’t formed to care about Arab states or Spanish civil wars.
    We were formed to help our own and hopefully win a few things along the way.
    You seem to change your opinion on a daily basis about who the good or bad guys are at our club (check your library)
    Do us all a favour and pick a side and stick with it.

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