Callum McGregor has provided a passionate view on a potential Celtic fan-return after a devastating season for the club.
The Hoops have badly underperformed this season due to a variety of factors. The manager not playing his best players and consistently changing personnel and systems certainly didn’t help.
However, one of the key aspects was the lack of fans in grounds. We’ve seen across world football just how grim an affect it’s had on clubs deemed favourites for their own league titles. Just ask the likes of Liverpool, Real Madrid, PSG, and even Bayern Munich to an extent.
With cases and deaths in Scotland being lowered, it’s only a matter of time before a conversation over fans returning comes back up again. And McGregor, speaking on the Celtic View podcast, provided a rallying cry on the importance of getting supporters in the door.
“It’s people’s livelihoods”
“Everybody at the club recognises that in terms of it’s people’s livelihoods. It’s people coming to the game twice a week or when the home games come around. They have their season books and their football family around. They love to be at the games.
“It brings everyone together in the good moments and even in the bad moments. People can get around each other. They feel that sense of togetherness, that sense of community that Celtic brings. It must be so difficult for their fans to get their heads around that.
“The obvious bit of that is the players will feed off the fans and fans will feed off the players in-game. We have to bring that sense of togetherness together again, bring that community and a cause that we all play for here at Celtic. Hopefully at the start of next season we can get everyone back together, get that unity back together, and go and attack the season ahead.”
Let’s not kid ourselves, a lack of fans has been huge this season
I don’t really care if it sounds like I’m excuse-making. But for me it’s 100% true that having no fans has massively affected Celtic. You can see it in both the intensity levels and the results picked up.
It’s been well-acknowledged just how detrimental a lack of supporters can be for bigger clubs. The evidence is there across Europe.
How can it be that a team such as Rangers, a side that has crumbled under any sort of fan pressure, suddenly wins consistently without them? Would they be in such a strong position with their supporters getting on their backs after failing to score in the first half? They would’ve dropped a lot more points than they have done.
And fair play to those clubs across Europe who have coped with this seemingly new normal extremely well. But it has an overwhelming feeling of fakeness to it. Football has felt artificial this season, and the next campaign will feel similar if supporters continue to be locked out.
We’ll see what the summer brings and whether a discussion on fans returning gets brought up. But you can expect a tidal wave of pressure from clubs, especially in the lower leagues, who need supporters in to survive.
When that starts to happen, don’t be surprised if Celtic suddenly find that extra gear they’ve been missing this season.