Robertson caved to Nicholson over must-win game


When Michael Nicholson picked up the phone to Stewart Robertson last month, he gave the Newco chief executive a dilemma.  Nicholson said Celtic were finished with the 700 away fans limit when the teams meet each other.  It did not allow visiting fans unrestricted entry and egress from games, along routes which had reduced flashpoints for a century, and therefore created an unnecessary safety risk.  It was Newco’s choice but Celtic’s options, either revert to 7,000 visiting fans or have none at all.

We have already covered how Robertson had boxed himself into a corner years earlier, when he located the Newco ultras group in the Broomloan Road stand, only to dislocate them whenever Celtic visited.  That was incredibly short sighted and soon led to a straightforward challenge: give primacy to your own fans or to Celtic fans.

Robertson will scarcely let a moment pass without the weight of his club’s financial problems weigh down on him.  He knows winning the league, with automatic Champions League qualification, would allow him to delay the worst consequences of Uefa’s enforced financial restrictions, which limit his ability to renew contracts and sign players.

On hearing from Nicholson, Robertson’s mind, therefore, would immediately go to what he needs from tomorrow’s game – a win.  This alone is not enough, but it is absolutely necessary to ensure Newco remain in the title race, even remotely.  It is just as important in their desire to be competitive next season.

So Robertson’s choice was simple: go into a must-win game with 7,000 fans, or go alone.  The former would give Newco their best chance of remaining competitive in the years to come, the latter would pander to his ultras and damage the club’s prospects.

It is not the job of the directors to be popular, or to pander to any group, no matter their sense of self-importance.  Often, they have to be unpopular, especially if it means diminishing your club’s chances of winning an absolutely must-win game.  And diminish his club’s chances is what the fool did.

I don’t know if Michael Nicholson is a strategic genius who set a trap for Robertson, or if he just played the hand in front of him.  Either way, Celtic have the advantage.

To the game itself.  After two lacklustre Celtic performances in his absence, Aaron Mooy is certain to start.  It will be his first game in four weeks, most of that time he has been injured, although I have great hopes for the balance he will bring to the team, he cannot be at his sharpest.

Greg Taylor took what looked like a straightforward muscle knock against Ross County last weekend.  If it is nothing more than a standard knock, he should be ready for tomorrow.  Greg’s importance to Celtic this season can scarcely be overstated.  He is a crucial part of how we attack and an endless source of energy getting back.

Reo Hatate strained a hamstring three weeks ago.  The minimum period for recuperation from this particular injury is three weeks, but hamstrings take months to fully recover (years if you are above a certain age).  If Aaron and Greg are fit, I would save Reo for the more important Scottish Cup game later this month.  Ange Postecoglou likes a big line-up refresh around the hour mark, tomorrow is likely to be no different.

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  1. bigrailroadblues on

    It appears that most of Derry City has relocated to the Gallowgate. 🍺😂

  2. Easter is a special time in the historical memory of the Celtic support.


    Today will be a special Celtic victory.

  3. bigrailroadblues on

    Oh father why are you so sad on this bright Easter morn’


    When Irish men are proud and glad of the land where they were born……


    Well, that’s me started.😂🇮🇪

  4. Could be the day for Japan’s Player of the Year to show he is a more than capable deputy for Reo.



    Iwata MOTM.

  5. Still feeling good about today’s game.



    They are the 2nd best team in Scotland and can hurt us more than most but we give them a harder task than they ever face in any other game.



    Our best is far better than their best – some of their players will freeze today- Barisic is still having nightmares from the last game.



    Oh and final reminder about Superbru to the stragglers.



    Off to the game now

  6. onenightinlisbon on

    Best of luck (we shouldn’t need it) to Ange and the Bhoys.



    Always get nervous when I hear people talking about 3 or 4 nil but in all honesty why not?



    Enjoy your day lads..

  7. Gorgeous in Corcaigh , if a little brisk, in terms of temp…………..



    Glad to be in the fine company of The Dear Green Place



    …………as a wise man once said ( I’ll paraphrase…. ” Only a fool would predict the outcome of this game”



    So I’m going 8 nil The celtic!






    HH to all who post here,and the many lurkers, the flirters……..etc etc




  8. CELTIC: Hart, Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor, McGregor, Mooy, O’Riley, Jota, Kyogo, Maeda.


    Subs: Bain, Haksabanovic, Turnbull, Kobayashi, Oh, Iwata, Bernabei, Welsh, Vata

  9. onenightinlisbon on

    See Souttar in for the huns today, no Goldson….Maeda, Jota and Kyogo must run riot..

  10. Other than MoR, team picked itself. Would have preferred to see Iwata who look assured and physical in last game. MoR has not been playing well, here’s hoping he puts in a MOTM show today.

  11. We have a much superior manager


    We have much superior players


    We play a much superior brand of football


    So why am I nervous???


    A) I’m always nervous, no matter the opposition


    B) Not too bothered about the ref, but the VAR team frighten me. Would even prefer if they were out on the pitch.


    C) worried about injuries which may be coming our way.




    Anyway I’m still optimistic despite above and, as Big Jimmy likes to say…. Just dae it Celtic!!!

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