The Great Reset
A little over four months ago,Celtic fans were perhaps a little perturbed. We had just witnessed-albeit by proxy in front of our laptops and TVs,rather than from the stands-possibly our worst season since the dark days of the early 90s,and seen our first choice managerial pick string us along for months before ditching us at the altar. We had finally seen the back of our long-term CEO only to discover that he wasn’t actually leaving the club after all,and even at that,his replacement didn’t even get time to wear an indent on the seat in his new office.
Worse,we knew that a huge chunk of our playing staff were leaving in the summer,and that many of those left behind were simply not up to the task. It was,after all,a large part of the reason that we had just had such a shocker of a season. And that the major rebuild required was going to be undertaken by a manager whom few of us had even heard of.
The clincher then was surely that our foes had their tails up,with a settled side and a confident managerial team. That they were surviving on equity confetti didn’t seem to matter as long as they were winning. And based on the above,how many of us were confident of AP changing things in his first season?
Three league defeats in our first six matches,plus an ignominious disaster in the Champions League qualifiers seemed,if anything,simply to reinforce the view that season 2021-22 would be about putting in place a structure which might see us successful next season,that this one would have to be written off due to all that had come before it.
Since then though,the revolution seems to have been quietly unfolding before our eyes. We have looked once more like a team with belief,with players who have a confidence in themselves and their team-mates. Most of those many new signings have taken to the place like a duck to water,others have simply improved as time goes on. And this with a team which fields only ONE player who was a regular starter a year ago.
Aye,I’m talking about a revolution. Not just a change of manager,not even just a change in personnel,but a change from the bottom up,where there is very little to recognise from the darkness of a year ago. Celtic fans now have a hope and a confidence that simply didn’t exist then,and the players and the manager deserve every credit for it. We have every right to believe that we can bring our trophies back to their rightful resting place,having gifted them to others last season through our own ineptitude.
All of the above would be true,would hold water,even before Steven Gerrard took the high road down the M6 to Birmingham yesterday. I presume it was a peepil-carrier,as he also took his motley crew of back-team staff with him. Given his repeated whining about how he wasn’t allowed to spend anything this year-conveniently overlooking a number of Bosman signings-their board can hardly be shocked at his decision to go to the EPL when they came to him with an open cheque book and promises a-plenty. I pondered in yesterday’s article the wisdom of joining that particular club,but he has made his bed,etc.
So too,of course,have the huns. They may not have spent the money that he demanded-clue:it was ALREADY spent!-but they backed him every step by refusing to sell his players to release funds too. Now,this is a remarkable show of faith in a manager from a cash-strapped board,which largely went unappreciated by him. But I think it was also unappreciated too by the players in question. They will doubtless be wondering why it is that their wangling for a move was deemed as disloyalty by the very manager who had the good trainers on the minute an offer came up,why it should be that the same media who were quick to remind them of how lucky they were to be playing in front of the hordes at Ibrox should be full of gushing praise for that manager who was off at the snap of a finger.
Four or five months ago,Celtic were in disarray. There is little doubt about that. We got lucky with AP,the man has a mental strength which he can transmit to the players,and they have over the piece come up to scratch,stood up to be counted. He had his back to the wall from the beginning,and while he could count on us,the fans,even we were wary as we took a step into the unknown. We have all been rewarded for that leap of faith,we can see clear progress on a path which many of us assumed would be a long and arduous one.
The performances so far from TRIFCo have been underwhelming,although the usual helping hands have aided them as and when required. That was with a settled team on the pitch,and a settled management team pulling the strings. Celtic need to be ready,willing and able to push on from our strong foundations,capable of applying the pressure to an opponent which is starting to creak,happy to apply the coup-de-grace whenever we get the opportunity. At Ibrox,they know that they have disaffected,overpaid and overvalued players. They also know that they need to get their managerial appointment just right,and that might just be a hard sell given the financial problems as well.
As I’ve said before,strap yourselves in for a bumpy ride.The next six months might be even more defining than I thought.
Above article by BMCUWP