The Celtic board are under more pressure than they’ve ever been.
Supporters have branded them liars and charlatans. In the press, they’ve been pilloried for their inaction, watching the club they run slide into ignominy. This could’ve been the Celtic hierarchy who secured the 10; instead, we’ll all watch on glumly as our 9-year head start was wasted in the chase for history.
Therefore, it would be safe to assume that Bankier, Lawwell and Desmond are planning their next steps incredibly carefully. If you were expecting a quick resolution to the managerial vacancy, think again.
Incoming CEO Dominic McKay has an unofficial role to play, too. It seems unlikely that he’ll wield his influence until the summer. Yes, he’s about to walk into a bigger job in a much, much better sport, but the role he has now is of immense value in itself. The SRU will be clinging on to him until 5pm on the 31st of May.
All that said, McKay will most certainly be wracking his brain, thinking of the ideal candidate to replace Neil Lennon. He’ll have his own ideas, of that there’s no doubt.
Generally speaking though, it’s on the incumbent board to get this job done. Don’t expect fireworks for a while yet, given that we’re only just at the end of February.
Celtic board will not be hasty
“Wise men say only fools rush in”, Elvis once sang. Fine, he was talking about romance, but the thinking is the same here. It’d be daft, utterly daft, to make a hasty decision here. If anything, it’s more likely that a Director of Football will pass through Parkhead’s gates before a new manager does. That should be the case, really.
After all, it’s in a DoF’s remit to implement a footballing culture at a club. The Celtic board, in all honesty, won’t care about how Celtic play, as long as they’re successful. That isn’t enough for the Celtic supporters. Gordon Strachan will tell you that if the football on show isn’t to an acceptable standard, you’re as good as gone.
We’re suffering, after all, from a hasty decision. Neil Lennon was appointed full-time [BBC] in the Hampden showers after the Treble Treble was secured. In hindsight, the Celtic board could argue that it was an appointment with more successes than not; given the Quadruple Treble was secured, along with Celtic’s 8th and 9th consecutive titles. Also, Celtic made in-roads in the Europa League, during Lennon’s first full season upon returning.
But it ended with a level of disappointment that seemed oddly inevitable. Even the heartiest of celebrants after the 2019 Scottish Cup Final had an uncertain feeling after full-time, when Lennon’s permanent return was announced. After all, spells with Bolton Wanderers and Hibs had come to bitter endings.
Desmond, Bankier and Lawwell won’t be criticised for taking their time here, you’d have thought
Dermot Desmond, Ian Bankier and Peter Lawwell attract a great deal of criticism, and quite rightly, too. They may not care too much about their reputations by now. However, the acts of egoism we’ve seen from this board dictate that they’ll be hurting as much as anyone just now.
Of course, that hurt is easier when you’re a multi-millionaire, as opposed to us duped supporters who were promised so much. There won’t be any sympathy for the Celtic board.
They won’t be enjoying this, though. Nor will they be in any pleased that a club calling itself Rangers have returned as a viable force in Scottish football. We had 9 seasons to make the right steps to secure history, and the board is as much as fault for it not happening as anyone. The big decisions at the club are up to them.
As criticised as they are, though, few in the Celtic support will chastise them for taking their time, here. Especially when, in blind panic earlier this season, they reportedly approached Gordon Strachan and Martin O’Neill. That would’ve been a compounding of miseries; there was nothing to suggest a backwards appointment would’ve helped the players out in any real way.
While it should’ve been done far sooner, we at least have the luxury of a few months before the season ends. The parts need to be put in place to create real optimism for the future. At the very least, the board have to show they’re thinking carefully.
If not, expect more disgust, revulsion and discontent.