As I’ve said before, supporters of other clubs are watching us with a wry smile.
The truth is, they’re quite entitled to. The enormously high standards at Celtic mean that even a small run of mediocre results constitutes a crisis. To fans of smaller clubs, it must seem entirely alien.
Only a handful of clubs in the UK could have their players scrutinised and tactics questions after victories. Celtic are one of those clubs.
A draw is a loss, as far as Celtic supporters are concerned. Quite right, too: nobody in Scotland spends more on its players than the Bhoys. The game isn’t played on paper but by any reasonable metric, we should be equal to or better than Rangers this season.
Peter Lawwell and Dermot Desmond, then, need to be decisive. Once again, they haven’t been.
Any other boss
It’s easy to get the feeling that emotions are the driving factor here. Neil Lennon is an out-and-out Celtic man, a guy who gets to live out his dream every day as manager of Celtic Football Club, regardless of how it’s going.
A former captain and a hugely respected figure by all sections of the club, from top to bottom, Lenny is a Celtic legend. There’s no doubt of that.
2 wins in 10, conceding 21 goals in that time, is simply not good enough, however. You’d suspect that a manager with fewer connections to the club would have been given his P45 by now.
Yet, the club hierarchy refuses to swing the scythe on Lennon’s time as boss.
Ronny Deila’s circumstances were different – Celtic were still winning games domestically, and despite the challenge of a decent Aberdeen side, the likeable Norwegian knew his days were numbered once the 15-16 season ended.
He left us with dignity. It was sad to see him go, but the football on display wasn’t good enough and a cup loss to Rangers typified the lack of development we’d made under his leadership.
Lennon needs to go now, before things get uglier than they ever did with Ronny Deila.
Lawwell and Desmond have taken bold, decisive action before.
The signing of Brendan Rodgers represented a massive coup for Celtic, and firmly put us on the map in a way that hadn’t been done since the impressive capture of Martin O’Neill in 2000.
The football under Rodgers in his first two seasons was unbelievable, as we strolled to an unbeaten league season in his first time of asking.
Under Rodgers, recruitment was aggressive, with a number of signings coming through to mixed effect. For every Scott Sinclair, there was an Eboue Kouassi. At least, though, we were winning matches comfortably and competing at the top table of European football.
When he inevitably left for a job in England, he left us in the lurch. Lenny was there to pick up the pieces and see the 17-18 campaign out but that’s where it should’ve ended.
It seems needless to say at this point, but it bears repeating: top football executives do not sign managers in the showers after a cup final.
As much as Lenny knew the club and the city, he never should have been the permanent option as coach. We were linked to the likes of Marco Rose and Graham Potter, both of whom are thriving in more lucrative leagues.
With Borussia Mönchengladbach and Brighton respectively, the two young coaches are making enormous strides, signing talented players and playing excellent football, with a long-term vision in mind.
Time for action
Lawwell, in particular, has been the subject of fan ire on many occasions. The supporters have warned him about complacency before. When needed, they’ve forced his hand in backing our manager in the transfer market.
To be quite honest, he’s done that so far in 2020, with players coming in on decent fees for a club of our financial clout.
However, the most difficult decisions are sometimes the best ones. While I’ve little doubt that Lawwell and Lenny have a decent working relationship, Peter needs to make the hard call and separate emotion from his role in Celtic’s success.
Desmond isn’t struggling for a quid or two. The money is there to make big decisions, regardless of how COVID-19 has impacted the coffers at Celtic Park.
It’s time to pull the trigger. Otherwise, Desmond and Lawwell could meet the same fate as the Kelly dynasty in 1994. Apathy equals inaction, and fans won’t tolerate either for much longer.