One Down,More To Come?
Yesterday gave us the glorious site of AP telling the media pack where they could shove their bets and predictions that he would be gone by Christmas. He really has their measure and they know it. In fact,I think he’s teasing them,playing them,inviting them to bring it on. That might be a dangerous game to play in most circumstances,but really he is reminding them of their insignificance,both to him and to the Celtic support.
I’ve said often that I’ve been insulted by experts,and so when I get some twat in the pub or elsewhere trying to do the same,I just tell them that the only people whose opinion matters to me are those people who matter to me in the first place. Somehow,I think AP feels the same.
We’ve come a long way in a short time under this man,and few of us would have forecast that type of improvement only six months ago,no matter who the manager was. Some of it is down to the summer signings,but all of it is down to how he has galvanised the spirit of these players,got them playing to their best and reminded them of who they are,who they represent. BADABING linked an excerpt from a pre-match team talk for Australia yesterday,and if he is doing that with Celtic,I’d die in the trenches for him myself. You get the feeling that the players feel the same,that they are revelling in his approach and the new improved coaching available to them.
Yet it is only a short few weeks since the end of October,a day when we could barely kick our own arses with a draw at home to Livingston. A day when some of us-let’s be honest here!-thought we had probably blown it,even this early. Since then we have won ten games out of eleven,the only defeat coming when we threw it away in the late stages in Leverkusen.
However,I think that run may be disguising a couple of things. Only two of those ten victories have been by more than one goal,and for me,that is a worrying trend. Sure,it shows that we know how to grind out victories-Ross County was proof of that if ever any was needed-but with the possession we have,the set-pieces,the sheer abundance in quality over most opposition,should we be putting these games to bed early doors,as the legendary Bobby Murdoch once said about the magnificent team for which he starred?
I say most definitely yes. For starters it will mean we can all relax a bit. Football should be entertaining,dramatic,a pleasure to watch. But sometimes I want to relax in the beauty of the occasion,the pleasure of watching my team stroll through a game even as I stroll to the bar to get the round in. Though it would be far better to do it in the cheap seats,surrounded by friends and family in Paradise,asking if they saw that piece of brilliance,it isn’t gonna happen anytime soon. Sadly.
As Fergus famously said,it is not always easy being a Celtic supporter,but it is always worthwhile. These last few weeks have certainly proved that,because I’m surprised the roars in our pub in Swindon when Kyogo scored on Sunday weren’t recorded on The Richter Scale.
But all of the above looks like I am damning AP with faint praise,or being churlish about his and the team’s achievements. Nothing could be further from the truth. He has worked wonders since he walked through the door,and has managed to get his players to do the same. I could not be more grateful. To have achieved all this in the face of the staff turnover in the summer,a hostile and mocking press and a refereeing fraternity which makes no bones about where its allegiance lies deserves all the credit in the world. Which is actually about $226 trillion at the moment,according to The New York Times!
To do it in addition to the constant injury problems that the club are suffering is only another feather in his cap. The club knows that our rebuild,long overdue,has only begun. They know too that the injuries make additional strengthening in January a priority. With a lot of players in certain countries out of contract in January due to their football calendar running different to ours,we must back this man.
If we give him the tools,I am sure that he will do the job. We were far from favourites at the start of the season,and indeed we still aren’t. But our rivals are all-in on that CL place next season,and if we can nick it from them,it will take them forever and a day to recover from the financial blow. We are all very cynical about the motivations of the Celtic board over the last two decades or so,and we have every right to be. But this is maybe our last chance to throw them an anchor as they drown in their continuing debt.
Things could certainly get very interesting very soon,and the board must know what they need to do. Interesting times indeed.
Above article by BMCUWP