Blood on the boardroom carpet


Football is brutal.  Each year, boys who have worked tirelessly for years in the hope of making the big time are cut free, hundreds of them across Scotland, little has changed in this respect for a century.  Whereas these traumas happen privately, the managers and coaches responsible for those decisions, face their own brutal edge in the most public manner possible, often with hoards yelling for their removal.

At every level, someone has the responsibility of telling someone else, he or she is out.  This is the DNA of an industry we all wanted to be part of as kids, then look on in horror later in life.

Dominic McKay was one of our own, a Celtic fan who worked his way up to run Scottish Rugby, not through the usual routes of commercial, accounting or legal, but from being the in-house public relations man.  The transformation at the club since the end of last season has been beyond my expectations; failures at Tynecastle, Ibrox and Denmark did not cut deep, as the direction of travel was clearly forward.  His course seemed assured from the outside.

Despite the common delusion, chief executive of Celtic is neither easy nor straightforward.  You run a TV channel and other media outlets, several licenced premises and restaurants; a bricks and clicks retail operation.  You deal with the whim of the police and Scottish Government, the SFA and SPFL.  There is a youth operation, with its myriad of complexities and a major events venue that accommodates enough people to bring half a city to a stop when in operation.

Then there are the pressure groups: fans, media, a board and major shareholders; executive, coaching and playing staff.  None of them are really pressure groups, but that’s what they will feel like if you are trying to keep them happy.  Crucially, if you want to affect change, you need to be able to lead people in those pressure groups.  If you cannot lead, your lack of followers is your fault.  Genuine agents of change prove this.

And there’s the football, which underpins all revenue streams and can cause joy or heartbreak on the bounce of a ball.

Wealthy young players, some with more sense than others, the ever-present contract negotiations with agents whose job it is to find someone else to make more money than you can afford.  You make multi-million pound investments with consequences that stretch years into the future and despite all the metrics, whopping mistakes are made at every club.

The bandwidth you need to do this job well is unimaginable to most of us.  It takes management experience, people skills and a firm control on your stress levels.  You need to know when to be hands off and when to give clear and early guidance.  Doing 90% of the necessary elements brilliantly will lead to disaster if you overlook something fundamental.  You also need luck.

Dominic McKay found out about that brutal edge earlier than any of us expected; football is meritocratic in this respect.  It was not results, it had nothing to do with former execs who are now on the beach (honestly!), nor was it about character, his remains impeccable.

He made mistakes, one was largish, but even the best do.  If he had the bandwidth for the task, he could have done more to demonstrate this, a large and complex business will expose your bottlenecks.  At Celtic, PR is hugely complex but even then, it would never be a launching pad for the top job.  PR in rugby is mundane by comparison; this route to the top drew the eye when I read of Dom’s appointment.  He was not a good fit and this is a poor look for Celtic.

Best of luck in your next appointment, Dom.

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  1. If he was not up to the job, who appointed him? FFS have we morphed into the Huns, are we living in a strange upside-down world straight out of Stranger Things?

  2. Afterthought



    If Ange is a man of probity he wont hang around any more than a season if we are lucky.

  3. TB @ 3.30



    Get a grip — DD’s career as a front rank 26 county mover and shaker ended with the Credit Crunch.



    He now just dabbles in various low rent get rich quick schemes / cyber mirages / coin clipping exercises / Rocky mountain “gold” mines.



    The staples of a business career on the slide / wind-down.


    As for the second generation — The Murdochs they are definitely not.

  4. On a second of the reading of Paul’s article what struck me is tacit implication that we were so lucky to have a man like Peter Lawwell and his marvellous bandwidth – being able to manage all the various aspects of Celtic that Paul highlights. In any other business, a CEO with such “bandwidth” would be better described as a megalomaniac. Where is the professional operational structure that would allow an incoming CEO half a chance at getting up to speed? Have the board decided that what they were really looking for was another megalomaniac?

  5. Go tell the Spartim on

    If we didn’t prop up the club / company how long would any of the charlatans in said club / company be in position for, sadly the good people at Celtic Plc are vastly outnumbered by the incompetent, in all facets of the organisational structure

  6. AULDHEID on 13TH SEPTEMBER 2021 3:54 PM



    AP will be gone this time next year



    He won’t put up with a third transfer window.

  7. As an aside, the point of having academy players in the first team is an interesting one.


    We are obliged to field 11 players.


    If we lose many players, and have been unable to sign adequate replacements, where else are we going to bring players in from?


    Delighted as I was to see the youngsters get their chance, our defence had a shaky start to the season. Several away defeats is evidence of this.


    I presume some of our new signings will now get a starting slot ahead of these academy players.


    Devil’s advocate and all that

  8. I don’t undertone the relevance of today’s article – its speculation. The only information we have to analyze is “Dom has left for personal reasons and we wish him and his family all the best”.



    I liked him and thought he did a magnificent job and brought a vision of how worldclass teams operate – he got that vision from benchmarking with properly run clubs around the globe.



    Our current board are an utter shambles and have been for years – Indicators ? Neil Lennon situation, Eddie howe situation, the amateurish state of celticTV, lack of media strategy, disdain for celtic support (as soon as the season books are purchased) and our pathetic/desperate signing policy.



    We are a cheap miserly football club at the heart of our DNA



    Dom tried to address this and now he’s not there – and NO ONE knows why! yet.

  9. Still getting over the shock of the departure of Dom McKay from Celtic. My initial thoughts on his appointment was surprise that he was exchanging the comparitively genteel world of Rugby Union for the cut-throat environment of professional Association football in a World renowned football club with it’s fan s protests and social media vitriol and the minefield of multi million player transfers.



    Caught the highlights of the Ross game. Despite a strange looking front three the team created plenty of chances and great to see Albi back among the goals and he hopefully he will kick on from there in Spain on Thursday night. Tough on young Ralston to lose his place after being argually one of Celtic’s best players since the start of the season. We are now in a healthy state for right backs. The return to norm outside of football and relief of the isolation factor should help the new signings, particularly the foreign lads to settle.

  10. I have said on other forums over the weekend that all this speculation is a distraction and merely he said/she said with nothing to back up or bolster any particular argument.



    As was pointed out earlier Ange stated very clearly on Saturday that the claims he was Dom McKay’s man were wide of the mark and that Michael Nicholson was someone who really supported him. We had a successful transfer window, albeit one that started late because of the issues with Eddie Howe; those issues were that a contract was agreed (and could have been enforced legally) but Howe asked to be released from the contract for family reasons, and this IS NOT a euphemism. The capture of Ange Postecoglu looks to be bearing fruit and despite losing a number of players to sale and injury we now have a better team than we did this time last season. We have a manager who is far superior to Neil Lennon and will bring success.



    The rantings of some on here and other forums is merely that: rantings. The dust will settle and a new CEO will appear, or not. Michael Nicholson will be a success or he will be replaced.



    In the meantime the external review of the club that highlighted the many flaws that need to be fixed will still need to actioned. Maybe not as quickly as many on here would like but changes must and will be made. Hopefully those changes will help focus on our raison d’étre but we must also acknowledge that the works of our charitable foundation still concentrate on that.



    In the meantime I will, like always, support the team; I have never supported the board and IMHO the board of the 80s and 90s were far worse than the present incumbents. They are transient but our great club isn’t.







    It was no surprise to me that Anthony Ralston wasn’t in the squad on Saturday.



    In his post-match interview at AZ Alkmaar, Ange was asked about another top performance by the full-back. Ange said, “Yes and he was running on empty towards the end because he’s played every bloody game.”



    He was definitely due a break.



    On a second of the reading of Paul’s article what struck me is tacit implication that we were so lucky to have a man like Peter Lawwell and his marvellous bandwidth – being able to manage all the various aspects of Celtic that Paul highlights. In any other business, a CEO with such “bandwidth” would be better described as a megalomaniac. Where is the professional operational structure that would allow an incoming CEO half a chance at getting up to speed? Have the board decided that what they were really looking for was another megalomaniac?




    I work in process improvement and change management. I got uneasy when i saw the word ‘bandwidth’ in the article and the ‘agent of change’ finished me off! Nothing against your article P67, i’m just scarred by Big 4 consultants 😎



    I agree with Auldheid that it is very difficult to deliver change without the senior management being behind it.



    I think the ‘team player’ comment could be due to some ‘grassing’ from people below him who had become pally over the years with the seniors. Very small workforce at Celtic and in a physically small office.


    Maybe he needed to take some folks for a pint

  13. Auldheid on 13th September 2021 3:54 pm






    If Ange is a man of probity he wont hang around any more than a season if we are lucky.






    It is obvious Ange is a real Man of Substance.



    I sincerely hope you are wrong in this case.

  14. VFR


    I completely agree with your comments. All the speculation about DM is generating far more heat than light. But whether he was up to the job or not, we urgently need a Director of Football/head of recruitment who is in it for the long run.

  15. Aipple- trying to work out if we need PCR/ antigen tests to travel to Portugal, different into from 2 different travel agents……

  16. Paul67



    It’s such a pity that big Peter’s bandwidth wasn’t sufficient to capture McGinn and Castagne when BR had them in his sights.



    And he must have lost his WiFi connection at Hamden when we clinched the Treble Treble and just decided to appoint the guy who was in the shower next door!




    When I went to Dublin with RYANAIR they had a breakdown on their website of what different countries requirements were for travelling. Hope this is of some help.




  18. Petec



    Tom MCLAughlin



    Glad to hear Anthony, who has been a revelation so far this season wasn’t dropped but probably was rested.

  19. Bada Bing



    I’m flying to the Algarve on 13/10.



    There are likely to be new rules in place by 1/10. It is anticipated that it will be the same as Spain is currently ie proof of double vaccination will suffice for the outgoing journey and a negative test two days prior to the return flight.



    That’s based on the amber status being withdrawn on 1/10.

  20. Just been reading back and catching up over yesterday.



    I was disappointed to read a few posters mocking Emma


    Raducanu’s claim to be British, or Britain’s claim on her.



    Emma was born in Canada to a Romanian father and Chinese mother before moving to London when she was only two. She is a British subject with a UK passport.



    To the people mocking her, if you had a new employee in your place of work who claimed to be eligible to work in the UK due to her UK passport, and you found out she was born in Canada to a Romanian father and Chinese mother and had come to London as a baby, would you accuse her of not being British?

  21. !!Bada Bing!! on 13th September 2021 4:35 pm



    The airlines are insisting that travellers have a test anyway before boarding.


    As I understand it you need a test before leaving Scotland and one before leaving


    Portugal then a final test when you get home.

  22. Rewind to early 1994 and the support was totally united as to who the enemy was. Namely : James Farrell, Kevin Kelly, Jack McGinn, Chris White, Tom Grant, Dr Michael Kelly, and David Smith. Smith really just a patsy for the families to hide behind. There was no ambiguity, it was them versus us.



    And, as the vainglorious Brian Dempsey declared in the pouring rain, the rebels have won. Fergus did what was said on the tin: five years, share issue, new stadium. Bye.



    Dermot Desmond came in in 1995, somewhat under the radar, and for whatever reason, has stayed. We now regard him as the absentee landlord, nothing major happens without DD’s approval. All the gossip and speculation that social media thrives on.



    When Desmond decides to let us know what his plans are then we will get some clarity. Until that happens we will just continue to chatter away.




    I don’t think people are mocking the girl as such.



    I think people are pointing out the hypocrisy of the UK right-wing media what D Mail/Express, both of which generally despise foreigners, and encourage such from their readers.



    The girl is Canadian by birth and has Canadian/Romanian parents. She moved here when she was a small child.



    Were she not a tennis champion (and, probably physically and evidently socially attractive) she would be regarded by these publications and their readers as an unwelcome immigrant.

  24. Many thanks for replies, travel list is updated on Wednesday/Thursday, 1 travel agent said as we are not in EU now you need a test to travel to Portugal, other said proof of double jags is sufficient…….seems a lot of restaurants in Algarve are wanting paper copies of vaccination proof btw

  25. scotland enquired about Ralston availability and were told ….not available. He either fatigued or carrying injury.



    I’d find a place in the midfield for that lad – he has pace and power , box to box capability and no small amount of character! Our midfield lacks that unless McCarthy can find a yard!

  26. They are looking at getting rid of the rip off test you have to book before you can return…….you don’t even need to take the test when home,a joke

  27. In the meantime the external review of the club that highlighted the many flaws that need to be fixed will still need to actioned






    I’ve obviously missed this external review and the flaws it highlighted…



    Can anyone steer me in the right direction ?

  28. vfr 4.27. Glad at least one other person heard Ange set the record straight regarding his appointment,


    I thought i misheard him. Don’t think he will be messed about.








  29. Dermot Desmond, Net Worth Excess of 2 Billion.


    9th Richest Man in Ireland.


    Business Interests Past & Present.



    Anesia Etablissement


    Baltimore Technologies


    Bank of Ireland[26]


    Barchester Healthcare


    BETDAQ betting exchange


    Bottin (International) Investments Ltd.[27] (2004)


    Castlebeck Group


    Celtic FC


    Daon, Inc.[28]




    Dedeir Limited[29]




    Freezone Investments Ltd. (Isle of Man-based investment company)


    GIS software house eSpatial




    International Investment Underwriters (IIU)


    Intuition Publishing Ltd. (eLearning Company)


    London City Airport




    MHC Mental Health Care


    Newfoundland & Labrador Refining Ltd.[30]


    Neovia[31] (2008)


    Prematur[31] (2008)


    Premier Fleet Management and Contract Hire Ltd[32]




    Rietumu Banka


    Sandy Lane Hotel




    Sporting Emporium Casino


    Shamrock Rovers FC


    Swanton Healthcare


    U4EA Technologies


    Young Foundation


    Mountain Province Diamonds



    Wish I had a Doddery old uncle like him.

  30. Corkcelt



    Thank the lord he put his money in when nobody else stepped forward at a time when Fergus Mc Cann was done.



    Dermot needs to rebuild his board, not just the playing squad



    Twiddly Moustaches CSC