Exclusive: Jackie McNamara's class advice on how Celtic players can get fans back onside

By Euan Davidson

September 28, 2021

Former Celtic captain Jackie McNamara has urged the club’s forwards to lead from the front and bring supporters onside.

McNamara, a PFA Player’s Player of the Year and SWFA Footballer of the Year while at Celtic, knows a thing or two about the supporters. Passionate as ever about the club he captained and led to four titles, he insists that it’s still all about attacking play and work rate.

The Bhoys have struggled in their last few matches. A convincing win over Raith Rovers was surrounded by disappointing results to Livingston, Real Betis and Dundee United.

But McNamara says it’s time to dig in for the Celtic players, if they’re to restore the faith of their fans.

McNamara told 67 Hail Hail [YouTube]:

“I think first and foremost, they want to see them giving their all. The fans react to that.

“[You talk about] Kyogo, his work rate, his desire to start things from the front. Ajeti could do that, and have the fans talking about him in a good sense. Not just about scoring goals, about his work rate first and foremost, and his desire to help the team.

“Celtic fans want to see the team giving their all” | Jackie McNamara on 67 Hail Hail

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“Celtic fans want to see the team giving their all” | Jackie McNamara on 67 Hail Hail
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“That helps the rest of the team behind them, the midfield are to get up, the centre-backs to get up, it keeps a team spirit. It does start from the front.

“The fans react to that as well, but it’s when they’re not doing it, and going through the motions, the fans will let them know that, and show their disappointment.

“That will help the team in the long run. It was clearly missed last year, a lot of the time. If the fans had been there, a lot of things would’ve been different.”

Jackie McNamara is right; the intensity of early Celtic showings needs to come back, pronto

McNamara is bang on here. What’s been most disappointing, especially after some early season routs, has been how slow the tempo has been in recent matches. Celtic suddenly look very one-dimensional with key players missing.

And while it’s important to remember the injury problems, Postecoglou’s methods aren’t being carried out by the players that are there. Under pressure, the team are trying to force opportunities where there are none, or launching hopeful crosses.

The directness, the movement and the intensity of early showings is going to be good enough to beat most teams. There’s real promise in this side under Ange Postecoglou, and there was always to be kinks to work out early on.

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

How much the lack of intensity falls on individual players isn’t entirely clear. Jota and Abada have been trying valiantly, while we know Ajeti is capable of scoring goals. But something just isn’t clicking.

Fitness is one issue, attitude is another.

Anton McElhone’s arrival should fix the former, and it’s on Postecoglou’s ruthless positivity to solve the latter.

Read more: Celtic supporters delighted by Premier Sports Cup scheduling