"The first thing to do"; Sky Sports man on how Celtic can bring the fight to rivals next season

By John McGinley

March 12, 2021

Sky Sports pundit Andy Walker has urged Celtic to engage supporters on the club’s upcoming behind-the-scenes restructure.

There have been multiple reports over the last few months that Celtic are set to utilise a sporting director and first-team coach moving forward, taking control of football matters away from influential club figures such as Peter Lawwell.

As yet, the club have not officially communicated this and the vacuum of silence is being filled by rumour and speculation.

For Walker, part of the battle in rebuilding for next season depends on bringing supporters along for the ride and adequately messaging what changes are going to be made.

He told Sky Sports today: “The first thing to do is engage with the fans. As I have said numerous times over the last few months, tell the supporters what the plans are and let them buy into it.

“If the new look Celtic structure is a director of football working alongside a head coach, it can work but if that’s clearly what the plan is, let the fans know. Tell them the benefits of how such a relationship can operate and flourish and put it in place as soon as possible.

“Even as recently as last month I listened to Celtic’s captain Scott Brown explain the outgoing chief executive was leaving it up to him to decide whether he wanted to continue playing or join the coaching staff. That is no way to lead. A new chief executive will soon be in place and if it’s to be a new head coach and director of football, it’s their decision on who’s part of any future squad or coaching set up.”

Walker also thinks that Celtic can be competitive next season if the right decisions are taken between now and the end of the summer.

The former Hoops striker went on to tell the broadcaster: “The roles are debatable and up for discussion as to how they will work, but for fans the bottom line is simplicity. Bring in good players and let the head coach do his job, make them effective in the team and improve those who are already there.

“It’s the end of a remarkably successful era for Celtic. But they can bounce back if the recruitment on and off the park is done properly.”

Dermot Desmond and Peter Lawwell pictured at a Celtic game / (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Now that the Scottish Premiership title quest is officially over, there really is nothing stopping the club from making the radical changes we need to move closer to Rangers next season.

There are no pretences left. Neil Lennon is no longer a shield for criticism. There’s only cold, hard failure. The longer the club sit in silence on that from the top down, the more difficult it will be to mount a challenge next term.

Celtic can be a fine team again next season but the work needs to start as quickly as possible – that includes clueing supporters in.

In other news, the Scottish Government make it clear that Celtic should not be tarnished by shameful Glasgow scenes.