Don’t worry folks; Ally McCoist reckons Neil Lennon can turn things around for Celtic.
Former Rangers and Question of Sport man McCoist, who famously portrayed a Celtic player in ‘A Shot at Glory’, spoke to BT Sport in the wake of an embarrassing defeat for the Bhoys in the Europa League.
The former striker, capped 61 times for Scotland, said:
I’m not sure I can remember many more testing times for Neil Lennon or Celtic looking at the way they are at this moment in time.
I keep saying, I have said for a while, that they will improve, they have to improve.
He’s never shirked an issue, on and off the pitch, in his life and he’s not going to do it now.
The Farmfoods advert star went on to add:
I would have probably picked that same side.
That’s still a strong Celtic side that will go out and do the business but it didn’t.
The buck will always stop with the manager and the head coach, that’s the way it has been for a number of years, that won’t change.
But the players have got to have a look at themselves, especially defensively.
Genuine respect, but…
Ally McCoist seems to have genuine respect for Neil Lennon and, to some extent, Celtic Football Club.
Despite his goalscoring antics for Rangers, there’s never been a real sense from McCoist that he entirely bought into the Old Firm rivalry’s more insalubrious elements.
Much like Rangers fan Kenny Dalglish becoming a Celtic legend, there’s a parallel universe in which Ally McCoist didn’t just pretend to play for Celtic under the watchful eye of Robert Duval.
However, he is a Rangers man, and the woes of Celtic supporters mean little to him.
His former club, who he left in unfortunate circumstances, have the chance to stop Celtic making history, a reverse scenario from the 97-98 season. McCoist was part of Rangers’ 9IAR run and I’m sure he’d be one of many ex-Rangers players who would hate to see Celtic go a step further.
The ex-pros are having their say
For better or worse, the Scottish football media landscape is dominated by ex-Celtic and Rangers players, who have their own particular allegiances and agendas. That’s not a criticism as such, in many ways it’s only natural that they would.
For example, on BT Sport last night, John Hartson called for fight and individual responsibility from Celtic’s first-team squad. Ally McCoist’s views indicate that he thinks Lennon will somehow improve the calibre of the performances out of nowhere.
On the other side of the debate, Chris Sutton, a staunch defender of Lennon up to this point, seems to have given up on his former colleague.
Celtic supporters won’t take much stock from the comments of Ally McCoist, but there will be frustrations with the narrative that the team’s woeful run is the fault of players not doing enough.
Intangible concepts like “fight”, “desire” and “determination” make good headlines but ultimately, winning football matches is largely about team selection and tactics.
If anything, it’s a bad sign that Rangers legends are demanding continuity at Celtic Park.
It probably means they can’t believe their luck.