It was a long 48 hours before yesterday’s statement from chief exec, Peter Lawwell. He explicitly acknowledged “hurt, disappointment and frustration following the team’s recent results”, but the implicit backing was there for “Neil, the players and the backroom staff”.
I have been critical of Neil’s decision in recent weeks, team plans change every hour but we do not appear to know how fix the fundamental problem. What actually is wrong? is a harder question to answer than it appears. It was not playing three at the back (or four), nor was choosing one player over another. If only it was as simple as a solitary scapegoat in the team. There is bigger question: Is the problem actually the manager?
It could be. Responsibility to fix team structure certainly lies with Neil, but there are doubtlessly other things going on that few of us are aware of. Neil carries the can, but he would be gone if the board thought that was all there is to the story.
Winning the league is going to take a huge effort this month and successful recruitment next month. Having been denied the opportunity to scout players during the spring and summer, a great deal of work has gone into preparing for January. Do the club have faith in this work? Would another manager ‘put his name’ to those targets blind?
Your recruitment strategy goes out the door with the manager. My suspicion is the club weigh the need for squad additions higher than changing the manager. These are the questions that separate those who are paid the big bucks from those who write blogs. Thankfully……
Celtic: Fifty Flags Plus One, an anthology of how Celtic won each of their league titles, is available now. Starting with our first title in 1893, it details how Willie Maley brought consistent glory, then the sparse successes over four decades before Jock Stein arrived in 1965 and the more contemporary wins since.
It will rekindle memories you had forgotten and give insight into how the leagues were won.
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