If Peter Lawwell is worried about his Celtic legacy, you wouldn't know it

By Euan Davidson

May 4, 2021

This could have easily been an article about any of the Celtic board, but it’s Peter Lawwell whose case is the most confusing.

While you’d expect silence from Ian Bankier or the altogether stormier Dermot Desmond, I almost feel sorry for Lawwell. Far and away the most emotive of Celtic’s hierarchy, he’s the face when things go right. In the second real crisis under his auspices as CEO, the first being Mowbray’s exit, the slow movement is cause for concern.

Given that he’s leaving his official post in the summer, he may well be focused on making sure his successor is readily equipped. For sure, Lawwell will have plenty of stories and wisdom to impart upon Dominic McKay. In terms of running a successful football club, the CEO knows exactly how to milk it. His commercial experience has been used, particularly over the 9IAR, when our emotions have led us to repeatedly put money in the club.

That’s his prerogative, of course. It’s incumbent on him to keep things ticking from a commercial perspective. However, he is unlike most CEOs, in that he involves himself in the football, and perhaps he’s overreached.

The fact that we’re scrambling for information on a Director of Football exemplifies a mess that is of Lawwell’s making. He likes being close to the players and sharing in the spoils of victory, but he’s gone off the radar when the club desperately needs leadership.

A Peter Lawwell ‘wanted’ poster, during the Celtic Trust’s December protest / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Peter Lawwell is damaging his already strained relationship with Celtic supporters

Of course, we’ve covered the multitude of opinions on Lawwell before. There’s nothing new there, he holds Marmite appeal.

But for someone as image conscious as Lawwell to be letting this debacle at the club continue is a mess largely of his own making. When personal relationships, like the one he had with Neil Lennon, don’t bear fruit, it’s time for panic. His interpersonal skills and networking haven’t got him out of this mess, because the club needs freshness.

And that reliance on tradition, of hiring Celtic men, of bringing back familiar names: it’s cost us. For all the sentiment, it hasn’t actually improved this squad. We crashed out of the Europa League and 10IAR was taken entirely for granted. What we need now is ambition, something new. The Celtic support already have their preferred candidate, and as I’ve argued before, these things take time.

But if Lawwell just said “this is taking a while, but we’ve got it covered”, it’d make such a difference. Even a white lie of a denial, a la Rodgers [Celtic FC], would be something to latch onto. Instead, Lawwell has turned moderates against him, and those who already didn’t like him have ramped up their opprobrium.

They were warned not to fall asleep at the wheel, were Lawwell and co. Even during the good times, there were supporters wary of the board getting complacent. It didn’t take Nostradamus to predict the mess we’re in now, yet here we are.

If Lawwell truly cares about his image, and the club he’s been leading for so long, he’s got to say something.

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