Celtic interim boss John Kennedy's "best team in the country" remark has been misunderstood

By David Walton

April 14, 2021

Celtic interim boss John Kennedy appeared to kick the hornet’s nest on Saturday with his “best team in the country” remark.

Indeed, he hasn’t been allowed to forget it after he made the comment in reaction to watching his Celtic side destroy Livingston. In what was a complete performance, the Hoops secured a fine 6-0 rout to add to their 3-0 win over Falkirk last week.

As quoted by the Daily Record afterward, Kennedy said the following when previewing this Sunday’s Scottish Cup fourth-round at Ibrox:

“I have full belief in the squad we have here, that on our day we are still the best team in the country. One hundred-per-cent. That’s the reaction you have to have. There was always going to come a point where we had a setback.”

The Celtic boss tried to show a bit of faith and instil some belief into his charges. Unsurprisingly, it’s been met with plain ignorance and disbelief by Scottish football pundits.

Chris Sutton today labelled the comments “delusional” when speaking on the Record Celtic Podcast. Sutton believed it was a “ridiculous” thing to say and claimed he would be laughing if he was a Rangers player.

Kris Boyd is the latest to clearly misunderstand it too. He said the following on the Sky Sports Scottish Football podcast:

“I didn’t understand the comments, to be honest, being the best in the country – 20 points behind in the table. Yes, there’s a bit of mind games going into the Scottish Cup game, but the be-all and end-all is the league, and that was sewn up months ago.”

People aren’t listening to what Celtic interim boss actually said

I must have personally missed the part where Kennedy said Celtic have been the best team this season. That we deserved more than we actually managed to achieve and that we’re great to watch.

Now had Kennedy said the above, you could understand any backlash. But the likes of Boyd and Sutton will be the first to tell you that Celtic have underperformed this year. That the players haven’t been playing to their full capabilities. That there should’ve been more shown from them across the campaign.

What Kennedy has instead stated is that “on our day” we’re the best team in Scotland. That when we click and are performing to our maximum capacity, nobody in the league can touch our performance levels. Rival fans will argue whether that’s the case, but our performances in the last two Glasgow derbies prove that Kennedy is on to something. We were the better team in both.

No, we haven’t performed to our maximum this season. That’s why we’ve lost the league so meekly. Too many games where we’ve underperformed. You can point the finger at the likes of Odsonne Edouard, Ryan Christie, Scott Brown, Callum McGregor, Moi Elyounoussi, Kris Ajer, and many others for inconsistent displays.

Celtic interim boss John Kennedy has ruffled some feathers (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

However, when those players are on their game they’re a different breed to anything in this country. That’s been proven. Many of these players have played a large part in our nine-in-a-row dominance. We’ve literally sat and watched them boss many of these same Rangers players under Steven Gerrard over the past two years.

So why then is it so outrageous to suggest that when Celtic perform to their peak level they remain the best team in Scotland? Rangers haven’t shown anything in the derby matches this season to suggest anything different.

Rangers, of course, have been the best team over the course of the season. They’ve performed to their maximum more than we have. But that’s not the point Kennedy was making. Those who actually read his comments should know better.

In other news, an SPFL club’s supporters have urged their team to sign this “proven” Celtic talent.