I HAVE no idea of your definition of failure, but I am beginning to get the impression I am out of sync with a certain percentage of the Celtic support.

In recent days, through so many forums, I have been picking up the vibe that all is not well at the home of the champions, particularly after an admittedly “underwhelming” transfer window.

Yeah, I hoped for Messi, too, but my Fairy Godmother obviously had the day off and that specific wish wasn’t granted. Hey, they haven’t got around to slapping tax on dreams, so make the most of them while you can.

Okay, most people’s expectation levels never materialised. There will be reasons for that which may be clarified in time. Clearly, left-back is a problem area, especially with Greg Taylor injured and his stand-in, Alexandro Bernabei, unable to curtail his walkabout tendencies that leave alarming gaps behind him.

WE’RE IN IT TOGETHER…Brendan Rodgers explains the current situation to the media. 

Reports suggest Rodgers had eyes on short-term deal for Manchester City’s Sergio Gomez, but that intriguing possibility didn’t crystallise with Pep Guardiola apparently refusing to release a player he has rarely utilised this season.

Similarly, moves for Wolves’ Hugo Bueno and Leicester City’s Luke Thomas hit a brick wall. Short of frogmarching a player across the border at gunpoint, there is little you can do in these circumstances.

The Hoops hierarchy have been accused of being parsimonious and unwilling to match their manager’s ambition.

How much do you know about the modus operandi of an average football agent? If Celtic had relented and broken their own financial strictures for one player, they might as well have taken out full-page adverts in the national press or announced it on the giant billboards on Times Square.

The news would have spread like wildfire among the colony of Mr Ten Percents and the club’s suits would never have been able to shed the reputation of possessing the negotiating nous of bargaining incompetents.

Celtic’s stubbornness can often frustrate and provoke a response. Many valid arguments have been put forward. However, I believe you can only take your disappointment to a certain level, have your say and then get on with life.

Everyone has the right to an opinion and it may not coincide with your own, but it would be one helluva dull existence if we all agreed with one another.

However, observations can often become jaundiced when the veil comes down and the blinkers are put in place.

HISTORY BHOYS…Callum McGregor and his team-mates celebrate the Scottish Cup triumph at Hampden in June 2023 as Celtic become the first club to win a domestic treble on eight occasions.

The scattergun approach to toxic criticism is oxygen for an appreciative audience who do not have the club’s best interests at heart. There is a feeding frenzy going on elsewhere as social media and airwaves go into meltdown in the midst of a landslide of nauseating comments being served up with vigorous regularity.

Criticism parts company with objectivity when it plummets to nasty and hurtful personal attacks.

There are way too many pessimists out there predicting doom, gloom and the end of the world as we know it.

Failure? Don’t make me burst into tears. I saw my first Celtic game at Parkhead when I was eleven years old on November 9 1963 – we beat Partick Thistle 5-3 on a memorably entertaining afternoon – so I reckon I’ve got a head start on most of the present-day assemblage. To save you doing the math, I celebrated my 72nd birthday last Sunday.

It would be fair to say I have watched some dross over the decades. I’ve been more than perplexed at performances of some well-meaning individuals who have donned the famous green-and-white hooped jersey and looked as comfortable as a Christian being introduced to a particularly ravenous and peeved lion back in the day. That was actually before my time, I hasten to add.

RISE AND SHINE…Billy McNeill leaps above team-mate Bobby Lennox to thump in the Scottish Cup winner against Dunfermline in April 1965 – the club’s first trophy triumph in eight years.

There weren’t too many successes to enthuse over in those dark chapters in the club’s history for a kid who couldn’t afford bus fare and would walk with my mates from the south side council estate in Castlemilk to the east end of our fair city on matchday. We didn’t exactly clamour for a lap of honour from our heroes after a Glasgow Cup triumph over Third Lanark, Clyde or Queen’s Park, but it was a close-run thing.

Wins over Rangers were as rare as hen’s teeth, it breaks my heart to inform you.

I was fourteen before I saw Celtic win the title. The team had been in a twelve-year tailspin after lifting the championship in 1954. I was two at the time and can’t really remember too much about the momentous occasion.

I was in a state of euphoria for weeks, possibly months, after Billy McNeill had risen so majestically to head in the Scottish Cup decider against Dunfermline on April 24 1965.

We hadn’t won anything for eight years, a truly lamentable sequence of a club entrenched in the doldrums, an incomprehensible procession of misery that made you wonder about the collective aspirations of those who sat around the big table in the boardroom.

Two years and a month after Big Billy’s soaring silverware-clinching effort against the doughty Fifers, Celtic conquered Europe. If ever there was a keep-the-faith moment in the beautiful game, that was it.

The formative angst-dominated years of witnessing your team toil against East Stirling, Queen of the South and Falkirk evaporated at a stroke.

And here we are today.

Aye, I am well aware I have reached that stage in my trek along life’s highway where I should be tucked away with a tartan shawl across my lap, ensconced in a comfy chair, permitted a daily medicinal half-pint of sweet stout and allowed to watch endless reruns of Coronation Street where the repellant OAP Ena Sharples, with a face like a bag of spanners, was the love interest.

Perhaps Sir Rod will pop in to share some of my Werther’s Originals.

We could also discuss Celtic’s malfunction over recent years with a mere seventeen triumphs in the last 22 honours up for grabs on the domestic scene.

Let’s hear it for failure.


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