If there's a Celtic dressing room leak it needs to be plugged

By John McGinley

September 20, 2021

One of the big Celtic talking points today surrounds James McCarthy, his arrival at the club, fitness and performance yesterday away to Livingston.

A very interesting report popped up in The Athletic this morning, in which journalist Kieran Devlin cited “dressing room sources” that had told him McCarthy was struggling with the intensity of Ange Postecoglou’s training.

Now, I’ve addressed the context around that already on this site today. Less of a defence of McCarthy and more a deeper look at why he might be struggling. The gist of my point was – if he wasn’t struggling with training after his pre-season and illness issues you would ask questions about the training.

Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

But the story itself raised a potentially deeper issue emerging from the Celtic dressing room – who is letting information like this come from inside the squad group into the wider press?

Before I continue, let me stress I have no issue with Devlin or his reporting here. He is simply doing his job and following through on the hard work he has put into sourcing the information. That’s what good journalists do. Don’t shoot the messenger, so to speak.

Further than that, the report doesn’t necessarily mean that Devlin is directly getting scoops from players. It could be from family members, agents or other staff working with the squad. We simply don’t know and obviously never will. That’s how football works sometimes, it’s not as if these kinds of snippets emerging are unique to Celtic.

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It could also be that this information was provided without any malice whatsoever and offered innocently, unaware of how much of an issue would be made of it by plugged-in supporters.

Nonetheless, I don’t expect McCarthy to be ecstatic at this information getting out there today, which gained traction, then was mentioned and debated on national radio shows such as BBC Radio Scotland’s Sportsound tonight. I doubt Ange Postecoglou is happy either.

If there is a leak then it needs to be plugged immediately. This is the kind of thing we don’t want to drag on or further undermine any players or coaching staff this season. It’s simply not conducive to a happy atmosphere or forging a close squad bond, especially if things start to go against the team on the pitch.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

We all want to know what is happening at Celtic, but not when it’s coming out of a sacred bubble or potentially leading to further problems in terms of dynamics between players and staff.

So, Celtic, get the house in order, get the squad together and make it clear it’s you guys against the rest of the world. Some things are better spoken about at Lennoxtown or not at all.

In other news, Celtic youngster’s character and work ethic praised by English manager.