Sutton Launches Yet Another Full-Scale Attack On Celtic. What Is It With This Guy?

Image for Sutton Launches Yet Another Full-Scale Attack On Celtic. What Is It With This Guy?

Chris Sutton has devoted his entire column in The Daily Record today to attacking Celtic on as many different fronts as he could. I am not joking; the piece reads like you programmed ChatGPT to create something written by a pissed Keith Jackson under his byline. If the Jackass himself had written this I’d have subjected it to the full flamethrower treatment.

In fact, you know what? That’s what this deserves. If Sutton is determined to cross that Rubicon and sound like just another third-rate Record hack then I’m going to treat him like one. So let’s not muck about, let’s get right into the article, starting with the headline.

“Celtic have their own questions to answer before SFA war as 4 bewildering calls just don’t make sense – Chris Sutton”

You see how his name is in the headline, as though the writer was more important than the story? Remember what I said about that recently?

“Selling Bernabei was just the latest puzzling decision from Celtic that Chris Sutton can’t wrap his head around.”

A few days ago I’d have absolutely agree and I’d written pretty much the same. Had Sutton devoted the article to that particular point and gone over the transfer business with a fine-toothed comb then I wouldn’t need to do what it is that I’m doing right now. Because that would have been coherent and sensible; in short, a change from his recent output.

“Brendan Rodgers and Celtic have gone to war on the SFA this week after some questionable decisions from the officials at Tynecastle.”

Totally. And we are quite right to do so.

“They know a thing or two about questionable decisions – they’ve been making them all season. I understand Rodgers’ frustration after the Hearts defeat. There were some ropey calls. But the Celtic manager will need to take responsibility for some of his own in recent months that have been equally bewildering. There was another one this week. Why the heck have Celtic allowed Alexandro Bernabei to leave? It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

There’s nothing objectionable, in and of itself, about that paragraph. But there’s an overall tone to it which I’ve written about on this site before; this tendency to blame Rodgers for everything, even for the stuff that’s very obviously not his fault. And the tendency to second guess decisions that he’s made when there’s no reason to. Some of those “questionable decisions” Sutton is talking about aren’t even down to the manager, as we’ve explored before.

On Bernabei, Rodgers has assumed responsibility for that decision, which answers one of the questions I had about it, and he’s hinted that he might play Scales at left back if the need arises. That answers another of the questions I had about it. The inference is clear; he simply does not have the slightest bit of faith in Bernabei as a footballer, and that’s not only is the manager fully entitled to make that decision, but it’s a damning indictment of our transfer department and the guy who headed it up until not that long ago.

“Listen, the Argentinian is no world beater. But he’s a left back. And it might have gone unnoticed at Celtic Park but that is a problem position for them. They only have Greg Taylor now and while he’s been a consistent performer, he’s had some injury problems – and no wonder after being flogged for about three years.”

Almost every player in the game wears the tag “no world beater.” The problem with Bernabei is that he doesn’t look like an SPFL level player at times, and that’s where the line has to be drawn. I’m sure our situation with the left back position has not “gone unnoticed.” Some of us have been writing about it nearly every day since the January window shut. Rodgers has looked at the squad, assessed Scales and Frame and even Ralston and decided they are all better options. Damning. But final. You won’t see Bernabei in a Celtic shirt again. As to his point about Taylor, that’s hyperbolic nonsense. He’s had a couple of injuries. That does not mean he has “injury problems.”

“Celtic are now in a title run in with no cover. It’s madness. If Taylor gets injured or suspended it’ll mean Anthony Ralston – a right back – would need to play, or Liam Scales would need to move across, meaning one of the two centre backs who have not been deemed good enough all season coming in. God help them if Cameron Carter-Vickers pulls up again.”

Rodgers think Ralston is a better left back than Bernabei. Argue the toss on that all you like, but Rodgers absolutely believes that’s true. He believes Scales is better. And this invoking of nightmare scenarios is typical lazy journalism. We’d need to have three players out injured for that scenario to come to fruition, all at the same time, and if we’ve got that kind of luck then all the cover in the world isn’t going to make any difference to the job at hand.

Who are the “two central backs who haven’t been deemed good enough all season”? Lagerbielke is one of them, a guy Sutton went to the bat for earlier in the season with another of his “Mistakes Of Brendan Rodgers Volume 123” articles and Nawrocki, who has been in the team when fit.

There’s also Stephen Welsh who incidentally can play at right back at a push. And since Johnston can also play centre back and has done so for Canada, we’ve also got options if we do need to go fully makeshift. No, we wouldn’t want to, but Sutton’s “what if a sickness bug swept through the Celtic dressing room and everyone was unfit” scenarios are extreme stuff and if we get to that state of affairs we’re in big trouble anyway.

The bottom line is, Rodgers has made this call and that he has done, at this point in the season, is his way of saying that “I would play literally anybody at left back just so I never have to select this guy again.” And right or wrong, that’s his call to make. I too questioned this decision, in the most angry terms. But Rodgers comments make it plain that Bernabei was no longer someone the manager was prepared to have in the team even in a crisis. That says it all.

“I get Liel Abada’s departure. It’s unfortunate and a hugely disappointing turn of events that have cost Celtic one of their most effective players. But allowing Bernabei to go after the abject failure of bringing in a replacement in January just makes no sense whatsoever.”

That “abject failure” – and I agree, that’s what it was – was not down to the manager who made his position on bringing in a left back absolutely crystal clear. That has not stopped Sutton from blaming Brendan Rodgers for it on more than one occasion.

“It’s a common theme this season. At Tynecastle on Sunday Celtic were up against it, down to 10 men and needing to find a way back. Rodgers sent on youngster Daniel Kelly. No harm to the lad, as he could be the future of the club. But that was no environment for an 18-year-old.”

Arrant nonsense. Need I talk here about the players who have played in enormous games, all across the world, at precisely that age? Wayne Rooney was a English Premiership striker at 17. If you’ve got the skill-set and your head is in the right place why not play you in an environment like that? In a game that’s largely gotten away from you, it’s a hell of a time to start prepping him for life in the first team. It’s why certain organisations actually pick moments of confusion and chaos to run drills; what better time to find out what people are made of? Only one thing matters; does the manager have the confidence in the kid to do it? And in this case he did.

“Perhaps it was another message to the board – especially when £2m midfielder Odin Thiago Holm was left on the bench – but surely we are beyond that stage now?”

For someone who’s gone out of his way to brand people as conspiracy theorists this week, Sutton hasn’t half indulged himself with dabbling in one there. Yes, with us now in single digits as far as league games left goes and with a close title race on the razors edge and Rodgers own managerial rep on the line, we’re beyond that stage. It shouldn’t even need stating that we’re beyond that stage. The point about Holm is well made, but it’s not Rodgers sending a message as much as confirming what we already know; the head of recruitment squandered a huge amount of this club’s money on players who are just not that good, and Daddy let him do it.

“What got me was the fact David Turnbull wasn’t there. This is a player who was keeping Reo Hatate out of the team at the start of the season but was then bombed out completely. Again, I’m not saying he’s world class but he can affect a game when you are looking for a goal. But no, gone in January with no replacement signed. It’s just bizarre.”

David Turnbull? Christ almighty, why not just invoke Jota and Starfelt whilst you’re at it? I thought we should have signed a midfielder in the January window and wrote that, but I’m also cognizant of the fact that we do have a number of midfield options, but that Hatate has been out longer than we’d have hoped. But anyone who thinks David Turnbull was going to turn that game, at Tynecastle, in a battle, hasn’t ever watched David Turnbull play. A luxury footballer if ever there was one, which is why Celtic didn’t even make him a halfway reasonable contract offer.

“You could say Nicholas Kuhn came in for Abada but he’s another one that can’t get a game at the moment. And it makes it all the more galling for Celtic fans to see Mikey Johnston scoring stunners every week for West Brom, especially after they practically hounded him out.”

The difference between Kuhn and Johnston – apart from them playing on different sides of the pitch – is that we’ve not had enough chances to watch Kuhn to be 100% sure that he’s another waste of money, although the longer he’s out of the team the clearer it looks that this is indeed the case. But some signings do take time to settle, and he might be one of them. Mikey Johnston, on the other hand, we’ve had plenty of opportunities to watch and regardless of what he does elsewhere only one criteria matters; will he do it in a Celtic strip?

And every time that question has been asked of him he’s answered it with a definitive no. It is painful thinking of the number of opportunities that boy has been given to prove himself at our club and he’s not taken a single one of them. I don’t care if he Ronaldinho’s one in every week at West Brown; I’m against his ever returning to Celtic as our player.

I hope to God we don’t put ourselves through this again.

The suggestion that our fans “hounded him out” of Celtic is actually offensive and Sutton sounds more like Hugh Keevins than Keith Jackson for writing that. It is rubbish. He gets no more stick than, say, Greg Taylor but the thing is, Greg Taylor has proved himself the best left back at the club and until we sign someone better that position is his to lose. Johnston – I repeat – has never made himself indispensable, and that’s the coaches who’ve made that call, not the fans.

“I’m not saying Johnston is the answer but he’s another one who got a lot of game time in the first half of the season and is then shipped out as surplus to requirements. There was talk of a Yang loan deal not so long ago but a couple of good games and it’s like Lionel Messi is going to be out through suspension.”

If you’re not saying that Johnston is the answer then what’s your point? Yeah he got a lot of game time, but he was a waste of space for most of it which is generally how managers make these sorts of decisions. And the point about Yang is Jacksonesque guff. Celtic fans, by and large, have complained about the fact of the sending off, not the impact on the squad. We’re allowed to be pissed that one of our players was needlessly and shockingly ordered off aren’t we? I don’t hear anybody squealing about the overall impact on the team. Nobody.

“It just seems like Celtic have brought so much on themselves this season with so much confusion. Rodgers has now landed in hot water for his post-match comments and could be forced to sit in the stands for the (coming) game at Ibrox.”

Agree. A lot of our wounds are definitely self-inflicted. It would sit better with a lot of us if Sutton correctly identified the causes rather than firing the blunderbuss at every target in his peripheral vision.

“Apparently you can’t question the competence of the officials – even if they have been incompetent. I can’t help but think Rodgers’ rant would have been more powerful if he mentioned Celtic’s penalty.”

Seriously? That sounds like moaning at Rodgers for the sake of it. Rodgers thought that was a deserved spot kick, which I happen to agree on. So, what was he supposed to do? Lie to make his case sound better? What an idiotic suggestion.

“That was a terrible call as well. If anything, that was the one time ref Don Robertson should have been called to the monitor. It was arguably a foul by Yang rather than against him. And as for the Celtic winger’s red card, that incident is something I just hate about the modern game.”

Sutton sounds an awful lot like a guy trying to be “neutral” in that paragraph, doesn’t he? The idea that we maybe shouldn’t have got the penalty is one that I’m sure you could debate. But the idea that Yang committed a foul … I don’t know. But I’ll have a shot of whatever Sutton’s drinking because it’s good stuff if he’s writing nonsense like that.

“A sending off? Do me a favour. Was his boot high? Yes. Was it reckless, dangerous, did it have excessive force? No chance. I know it’s the letter of the law these days but come on. Some people will bleat Alex Cochrane could have been hurt. But he wasn’t. And you could get injured at any tackle. You could get injured getting out of the bath, for goodness sake.”

A fine paragraph. Excellent. And precisely why I’m astounded that we didn’t win that appeal. Aren’t there supposed to be ex-players on those panels? Who the Hell was on ours? I’m not demanding names or anything, but why, when I close my eyes and imagine it, do I get a vision of Steven Thompson, Neil McCann and Ricky Foster on the sofas of the BBC Sportscene studio giving their “neutral” analysis on a weekend’s games?

“Once Robertson was called over it was only going the one way – even though he had the best view in the place. No one would have batted an eyelid if he stuck with the yellow card and a free kick.”

Then it wasn’t “only going the one way” was it? Cause yeah, he could have kept to his original decision. The whole thing stinks, and those who accuse Rodgers of singling out Beaton are spreading misinformation because he took aim at Robertson as well. For all that, I have little hesitation on calling out Beaton specifically because I’m sure he forcefully put his case forward that the official had made a “clear and obvious error”, one that fit the criteria of quite possibly getting people knocked back at their local Ibrox fan bar later that evening.

“Likewise with the Hearts penalty. I saw ex-EPL ref Dermot Gallagher praising the officials for being consistent with these kind of handball calls in Scotland. Give me strength. Are we meant to congratulate them for consistently getting them wrong? So with all that went on I don’t blame Rodgers for being raging.”

Fine. Good. Neither do I.

“But would he have gone so far with his criticism if Celtic were still eight points clear at the top? I very much doubt it.”

Ridiculous point. Number one, those hypotheticals are just stupid because if we’d been eight points clear then The Brethren wouldn’t have had the motivation to bother. Secondly, yeah, I would hope that Rodgers would have acted exactly the same way and I suspect that after an entire season watching these sorts of calls that he would have.

“There was a hint of deflection with his post-match reaction – which plenty of managers do when they get beat. But when is Rodgers going to carry the can for how this season is unfolding?”

The only manager in the league not allowed to stand up for himself and his club. You know, I remember an occasion last season when Ange did complain about a decision which had gone against us, and know what reaction he got? “What you moaning about? You won.” It will forever be thus. Damned if we do, damned if we don’t. As for carrying the can; Rodgers is the guy who has a let a seven-point lead slip through his fingers. His reputation will be shredded beyond redemption, and especially if Celtic sack him. That’s called carrying the can, but there’s little point in fitting him up for the hanging hood before the title race is decided. Of course, it suits certain people to have the inquest before the event, because they just don’t like Rodgers.

“The refs were a handy get out at the weekend but it’s not John Beaton’s fault Celtic have dropped 19 points this season. It’s not the officials to blame for allowing a Rangers team that has lost five matches to sit at the top of the table.”

First, Rodgers hasn’t blamed officials for the unravelling of this campaign, so that is just yet another stupid point accusing him of something he hasn’t done. Secondly, the refs weren’t a “handy get out.” Officiating cost us the game. They aren’t being used as an excuse; their decisions turned the match. We dominated possession. Passing. Shots off target. Shots on targets. With ten men. With eleven on the pitch and no dodgy penalty award, we’d have won. Officials cost us the game. It is not deflecting to state that openly and baldly, and Sutton himself knows it so the charge is nonsensical and reeks of him just looking for something to hang around Rodgers neck.

“Robertson didn’t leave this squad ill-equipped for Europe and now short of bodies for a title race. Rodgers and Celtic can try to create a siege mentality or even pander to the conspiracy theorists. But if they don’t pull it out of the bag in the remaining nine games, they’ll only have themselves to blame.”

It wasn’t Rodgers call to leave the squad ill-equipped for Europe and for the title tilt. How many times must this be said? He stated his needs, he was ignored by the geniuses in our recruitment team who knew better and have had to leave their jobs because it turned out they didn’t. As to pander to “conspiracy theorists” – “Was Rodgers sending a message?” is a pretty big one and when he stops pushing his I’ll take him more seriously on that.

I know exactly who I’ll blame if this season ends with the Ibrox club atop the league and celebrating another title, and his name won’t surprise anybody; Lawwell, the chairman of the board, about whom I’ll be putting up a piece later on. Rodgers will pay with his job, or in any sane world he would, but he won’t carry all the responsibility for it.

As to Sutton, as far as I’m concerned, he’s on the precipice now of being just another Daily Record hack. He won’t be the first ex-Celtic player to cross the threshold and become a professional troll against our club. Mark Wilson is the most recent graduate of that particular “school” and it won’t surprise me if Sutton goes fully-fledged into being the next one. But as long as he’s acting that way, I reckon it’s fair to treat him as if he already has.

Share this article


  • Gerry says:

    Does big Sutton remember his post match outburst in 2003? When he accused Dunfermline of ‘lying down!’
    Which I suppose equates to either incompetence, cheating or both! Rodgers has accused officials of incompetence and was probably inferring a few other things too.
    Our season has been very poor and Rodgers does have to take his portion of blame for that. However, Sutton does not seem to want to, ( for whatever reasons ,) criticise our board.
    Once you’ve accepted the Daily Rangers as one of your paymasters, then your standing and gravitas with the Celtic community, tends to diminish!!
    Rodgers probably won’t get much sympathy, especially from his critics and detractors, but he deserves full and unequivocal backing on his stance from our fans…it will be absolutely scandalous if our board are posted missing, yet again and leave him hanging, out to dry!!!!

  • James O says:

    I think this may sound a bit controversial but I think, the club is doing a fair bit of housekeeping, trimming the fat, keeping the bank balance attractive.
    DD has a meeting/lunch with some big hitters in USA in a couple of weeks, would it be that unrealistic to suggest we are being set up as an attractive proposition, for a buyer?!
    All the signs are there, I always say follow the money, not many dots left to join up..

    • Jimmy says:

      Wow!! James. Have you got your hands on DDs diary. Put some meat on the bones.

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      Some attractive proposition James O…

      About to lose a second league in four years to a club that’s 11 years and 225 days old as of today (Sevco)….

      And if that league is lost the very jackboot of Sevco on the throat of Celtic for years to come…

  • James O says:

    On the Daniel Kelly point.
    Did Aiden McGeady not have his debut gor Celtic coming on as a sub at Tynecastle under MON.

  • Willbhoy says:

    Sutton was always even handed with his criticism and praise of celtic, but now he seems to go over board on his criticism, what’s changed. He works for sky sports now is the money that good ?

  • Michael McCartney says:

    I think that Sutton like us all is suffering from a bad case of frustration with the club as a whole, The Board , Manager and Coaching Staff have all got to take responsibility for the failures of this season. 8 points ahead in November, 2 points behind in March is a disaster and nobody at Celtic Park is blameless.
    What Chris Sutton says or doesn’t say matters a damn, its where on earth our club is heading that matters. I honestly think that the group of very ordinary Ibrox players have the momentum now to win the title, if this happens the backlash from our fans is going to be huge. The complacency,arrogance and mismanagement of this board has been a disgrace.
    BR can’t escape any criticism, but the pool of players he has been left to work with is probably the weakest this century.

  • peterbrady says:

    No my god I never ever thought I would see the day when Sutton became a full on soup taker but I suppose needs must lots of offspring to go through education these fees need paying so sad but heh ho keep the faith we are Glasgow Celtic hail!hail!.

  • Thomas lyon says:

    Sutton has always been a bit of an arse to be honest. Sometimes he likes us other times he talks without thinking. He needs reaction for to survive. He’s a fanny.

  • Jimmy says:

    By enlarge I would back everything Chris Sutton writes, and I would suggest most of the readers would do as well.
    You did a full piece on Bernabie James stating much the same as what Chris has wrote. Your reasoning now about its all being OK after all, many would disagree with that.
    I couldn’t give a toss about Jackson Kelvin’s that you write so much about, they will be loving the attention.
    Chris is hurting like all of us. Pure and simple.

    • Kingmurdy says:

      Agree entirely jimmy…..criticism of EVERY dept of celtic fc is valid…playing and coaching staff..INCLUDING our “ELITE”coach..and EVERY bastard in the boardroom…because,ultimately, they are the ones to blame for is being a JOKE of a football club…the more of a public kicking we get in the whoever..the more chance that ponce desmond might just take notice that one of his playthings have become a laughingstock…FAIL FAIL – A CLUB LIKE NO OTHER.

  • Robert Dunnachie says:

    People are entitled to their opinion, even you. What Sutton said was mostly true. Or are we not allowed to criticise. Geis peace ya self important clown.

Comments are closed.