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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    So you don’t like Dermot Desmond and you call him TGD watch you don’t turn onto Mad Mitch.



    You think Fergus McCann , Lindsell Train, or whomsoever that underwrote McCann’s leaving gig, would have years later went fo the Juggler or Res 12?

  2. JIMMYNOTPAUL -it was good to see you on


    My god the pish that is spouted on here,and not just from jhb 😉

  3. Toaty Trumper @ 5.44



    You really do love carrying a rich man’s bag.


    So much for being the Socialist Vanguard firebrand of your middle age.



    Your worldview has DD / the Irish Raj — absentee landlord no less — able to do no wrong.


    The brown nosing is bad enough but then you suggest that the last 20 years have been the greatest in the club’s history — what a load of tripe.



    1966 – 74 = 5 Euro finals or semi-finals and you say that we have had better in the recent past.



    No / no / thrice no — I’m sorry for some reason you idolise the Irish Raj and you belittle our history.



    Very strange viewpoint to have — I suppose that is what accountancy / bean counting does to you if you have no spine.

  4. Stx2 @ 8.05



    Interesting gig but unfortunately DD / the Irish Raj couldn’t afford me.



    I don’t work for multi millionaires on the slide.


    I work — when the mood takes me — for multi-billionaires on the up.

  5. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    All we have to go on is agenda-based briefings, nothing reliable. Jury was out on Dom, but not on this Board. Flint eyed capitalists to a man/ woman. Not to be trusted. My worst fear is that this is immediate payback for demonstrating an iota of ambition – having done the job of securing the season book money, was it purpose served for Dom.



    Whatever mistake Dom made I wonder how it compares to the 5WA, Mowbray, Deila, Lennon in the showers and the giant pissing contest with Rodgers?

  6. Well P67 pray tell what was the big mistake that Dom made?


    Not expecting a response but thought I’d try anyway.

  7. PLB @ 8.19



    Don’t get taken in by P67’s attempts at news management / agenda setting.


    DMcK has never made a PL sized mistake in his life.



    PL — skeletons in the closet …


    There are so many there is a bow in the door.



    And he has the Fire Brigade on speed dial.

  8. St Stivs



    When I was a wee Gibby bhoy the st Mungos parish outing every year was to Seamill – for a lot of folk it was the only away day of the year – brilliant Sandy beach

  9. FD @ 8.34



    That is the situation that our ex CEO finds himself in.


    I have no idea how this event came to pass but it cannot be ignored.


    The man that did the TV interview after the Dubai debacle was not dealing with the joys of spring.



    Your comment itself is interesting.



    We have a club that says that a senior executive has left the club due to “personal” reasons.


    And then briefed against him – in a most craven and explicit fashion — across the whole of the Scottish media the next day.



    I hope that you have sent a letter of complaint to CP.


    If you haven’t then I fear that there will be a word for your behaviour.

  10. took the soup recipe eye on

    TIMBHOY163 on 13TH SEPTEMBER 2021 6:42 PM


    Seems strange to me that Gordon Strachan whom I liked as a coach and a decent person,he gets the all clear to work with Celtic and Dundee ,then the same week Dom Mc Kay resigns due to personal issues,?





    Is this the ‘decent’ Gordon Strachan who used his status of Scotland national team manager to propose league reconstruction when Ibroxfc failed to gain promotion several years back, after losing play off to Motherwell?

  11. Season tickets all sold. Europa League packages appear to be sold out. Dundee Utd game all but sold out. Will find out tomorrow re the public sale of League Cup match against Raith Rovers tomorrow. Somebody is doing something right. Who needs a CEO?

  12. Betis at Grenada on tv now.



    Late kickoff. 10pm over there.



    Hoping Grenada win and make it even more important for Betis to focus on la Liga next weekend than on Thursday.



    Not looking likely though. Granada are even less of a form Horse right now.

  13. As someone who lives in Ireland, Dermot is rightly regarded as an impressive businessman with stellar credentials…………


    How some weird pop-up can describe him in such derogatory terms and still expect to be viewed with anything other than disdain and suspicion is beyond me.



    The latter barbs at Big Peter’s expense in light of the attempt on his life betrays the real nature of the trolling hyenas who despise CQN as much as they hate our success.

  14. The only largish mistake Dom McKay made was taking the job with Lawwell and Bankier stinking the gaff out. He compounded his mistake by being ambitious and starting the recovery.



    If only we had left Lawwell and Bankier in place think where we could be ——is the mood of the self serving nobodies on the board.



    A complete amateur outfit on a downward spiral.

  15. BB1


    ‘ 9.12



    DD / The Irish Raj made his name in the 26 counties as always being available to help out ol’ CH with a loan or two when required.



    CH was desperate to go down the TH route and get himself a boat.


    Guess who stepped in to tart her up a bit — for the avoidance of doubt I am talking about the boat.


    The bold DD.



    He is not quite in the MO’L bracket of business greats.