It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what was different from last night’s performance to our previous outing against Ross County, and so many this season. Kris Commons was on from the start, but our tone of play was different, even as Kris limped on the side-lines during the opening minutes.
How that tone was set is worth examining. Celtic were denied an opportunity to train on Kilmarnock’s new artificial pitch, in a move demonstrating the hosts legendary welcome and sportsmanship, but when Ronny Deila spoke pre-match he made his position clear, “The pitch is great”.
One of my pet hates is hearing a player or manager establish a reason for failure before kick-off. Record your complaints about the pitch, or even being denied the chance to become accustomed to it, and you’re subliminally setting yourself up for a fall. It didn’t matter if a pitch is great or not, the manager and players have minutes to convince themselves it’s good enough for them to put on a show. Nothing got in the way of Celtic’s can-do attitude yesterday.
Kris was phenomenal. He got a hat-trick at Rugby Park last season and deserved no less this time, only the crossbar, twice, and some fine goalkeeping denied him. In a team short of goals, his focus on the target is unceasing. There were important Champions League games when he didn’t make the team under Neil Lennon, and there will be occasions when the game doesn’t suit him, but he’s the required fulcrum against a packed SPFL defence.
We’ve touched on this theme a couple of times but it doesn’t seem to be getting traction. For two years shareholders now newco Rangers have been advised to step aside, or as now, sell control for £18m, in the best interests of the club. No deal will be done until the best interests of the controlling shareholders are considered, any approach which doesn’t recognise this is no more than a distraction.
Newco have four directors, two non-execs, who do not work in the business on a daily basis, and two executives, who do. The latter, chief executive Derek Llambias, and yesterday’s appointment of Barry Leach as financial director, both came from the Sports Direct stable. They are the men working on fixing the funding gap. It is inconceivable they will overlook the interests of investors.
On 27th of this month newco will face an SFA disciplinary hearing over an alleged breach of a written agreement not to allow Ashley influence at the club, in place before they appointed two former Sports Direct staff to the board. I would be very surprised if the Sports Direct owner didn’t have the club’s short-term funding and his long-term security secured prior to that date.[calameo code=0003901718eccc6101c78 lang=en page=1 hidelinks=1 width=100% height=500]