Dermot Desmond portrayed himself as an engaged and ambitious Celtic man in September; time to prove it

By John McGinley

November 22, 2020

We’re almost a full day beyond yesterday’s draw between Celtic and Hibernian.

In the immediate post-match hours following the 2-2 result, I wrote on this website and spoke on the 67 Hail Hail YouTube channel about the need for Neil Lennon to depart Celtic.

Nothing has changed past those emotionally charged moments. It’s not a kneejerk reaction.

Since then Rangers have played, and battered, Aberdeen.

Celtic are staring down the barrel in the Scottish Premiership, 11 points adrift with only games in hand remaining as the weak argument for Lennon’s defence force. Those games in hand are no guarantee.

Action is needed and, as we know, that will likely be the responsibility of the most senior men at Celtic – largest shareholder Dermot Desmond and Chief Executive Peter Lawwell.

What are they thinking today?

Back in September, Desmond gave a rare, extensive interview to The Athletic, speaking about a range of issues at the club including the impact of the pandemic, the chance of Celtic playing in another league and our exit from the Champions League to Ferencvaros.

He also spoke about the managerial role at Celtic and Neil Lennon.

Desmond portrayed himself as an engaged and passionate Bhoys supporter who spoke to Lennon after every game, something that has been confirmed by the manager since.

He said to The Athletic: “It should be stated that no Celtic player or manager ever earned as much as Brendan Rodgers. He was a quality individual who did a quality job.

“So we had prepared ourselves. We knew it was only a matter of time before clubs would make an offer because he is the commodity every club needs — a first-class manager.

“Lenny was always on our radar. Lenny has been a work in progress for us. He’s been that person we have kind-of tutored and he’s learned along the way. The advice we gave him he’s now realised was good advice, and he’s matured and everybody’s allowed to make mistakes. None of them were fatal.

“So we took him back in even though some of the fans thought it was a retrograde step. But you learn more from mistakes, it can change your personality, your modus operandi. We saw that with Lenny and he has repaid our belief in him.”

Celtic manager Neil Lennon / (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Desmond hits the nail on the head himself when he states what every club needs – a first-class manager.

So where is he? I don’t believe that’s what we have right now.

He may be a long-term project for the club and there may be loyalty to what he’s achieved in the past but, brutally, none of that matters right now.

All that matters is having the best manager possible in place for our ten-in-a-row bid and, more importantly, someone in the dugout and on the training pitch who can deliver on long-term ambitions, pushing us forward in the way Desmond claims he wants us to do.

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

Is Lennon still repaying the belief that the club put in him?

It’s all well and good saying the right things. As Desmond notes, they have to learn from their mistakes.

Bold action is needed here, as is vision. It’s time for people like Desmond to back up their words and prove their worth as custodians of the club.