With protest on the horizon, Celtic CEO Dom McKay faces first real test

By Euan Davidson

July 2, 2021

If Dom McKay didn’t know what he was up against at Celtic, he’ll be well aware now.

With 5 prominent Celtic supporters’ groups planning a protest, a merchandise boycott and a January review, the new Bhoys CEO will need to be at his best to control the situation.

While there’s been plenty of goodwill around Celtic, and a vastly improved atmosphere, the problems from last season haven’t gone away. Peter Lawwell may no longer be the club’s CEO, but his shadow hangs over the relationship between the club and the supporters.

That was made incredibly obvious today. Heartening as it is from the club’s perspective that the new manager is being backed, the scars of 20-21 remain. McKay has a remit from both his employers, and prominent supporter voices.

Don’t think I envy that job, to be honest.

In the statement, issued earlier this afternoon [North Curve], the supporters groups’ demands were relatively simple in writing. Back the manager, improve the communication and introduce structural changes. McKay might be thinking that these were things he promised, anyway.

Dom McKay will have heard supporters’ groups loud and clear

In a way, it’s hard not to feel a wee bit sorry for Dom McKay. He’s just in the job, and there are protests planned. But McKay, a self-identified Celtic supporter, will know exactly how the supporters felt prior to his taking the job.

Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images

And not without a hint of masochism, he took the job anyway. Certainly, there’s pressure incumbent upon him to deliver his agenda. If a week is a long time in politics, it’s an epoch in football, though. McKay needs to deliver now, and maybe getting a manager in that fans actually like is the least of it.

He didn’t walk into Paradise blind. He might not have expected protests this quickly, perhaps, but a lot depends on his mindset. McKay is going to be at pains to relieve some of the pressure on those above him, and keep fans happy. It’s a high-wire balancing act that takes innovative thinking and diplomacy to achieve.

Maybe McKay wouldn’t have wanted to define his “administration” so soon. But here’s a huge chance for him.

READ MORE: The interesting media tactics Celtic are using to connect with supporters