When the final whistle blew last night the inquest began. Celtic had just crashed out of the Champions League after conceding 4 goals at Celtic Park to Cluj, the Romanian champions in August. Our hopes and dreams shattered once again before the kids had gone back to school.
Celtic fans took to social media to vent their anger, their targets where Peter Lawell, Neil Lennon, John Kennedy, Scott Brown and the Celtic defence or lack of it!
The fans are angry and hurting, many fans based over seas have now lost out financially after booking flights to Glasgow for the upcoming Hearts game which will now be moved to Sunday. If we qualify for the Europa League Group stages we will have very few Saturday 3pm kick offs it’s already bad enough playing at lunchtime on Saturday and Sundays to accommodate TV schedules.
Peter Lawell won’t lose out financially, he will be judged on the financial spread sheet and he has already balanced the books without Champions League football by the transfer of Kieran Tierney to Arsenal. Like last season when Dembele was sold after we failed to qualify on Peter’s watch. Last season it was clear that Brendan Rodgers wasn’t happy with the transfer policy at the club, when he left for Leicester without a goodbye or a kiss my arse. Peter was silent while he waited for the fans reaction. Once the daggers were out for Rodgers only then did he speak, until then all we had was a poorly scripted statement from Rodgers, the Chairman and Lawell on the clubs website, shortly after Neil Lennon was appointed as manager to steady and steer the ship towards the treble-treble, I was outside Easter Road for our cup game against Hibs and fans were shaking Lawell’s hand and he was posing for selfies with some fans to whom he was a hero and Rodgers the villain. With so many questions unanswered we moved on, maybe someday we will get answers but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
The appointment of Neil Lennon as manager on a permanent basis was met with a mixed reaction from the fans but it was announced while we were still dancing out of Hampden to celebrate the Treble- Treble. After the game I was having a few celebratory pints with Alan Thompson when the word filtered through that Lenny was the new manager. Tommo told me he had spoke to Lenny the night before and he said “Neil did not know he was getting the job last night” Which raises the question was he handed the job on the strength of the delivering the Scottish Cup to complete the historical treble-treble? If we had lost was there another manager on a short list to be appointed? Only the power brokers inside the Celtic board room will know the answer to that question.
The knives are out for Lenny and he picked the team that conceded the 4 goals last night and rightly so he deserves to be criticised the same way he was praised for all the results this season up till last nights defensive shambles, but there are questions to be answered by Lawell too. He makes the decisions at the top the decisions that affect us the ordinary fans who because of our love of the club will continue to back them financially and emotionally. Last night brought back memories of Bratislava and Basle. The Basle defeat would put us on the road to Seville under Martin O’ Neill, that team had Lennon, Lambert, Thompson, McNamara, Hartson, Sutton and a superstar called Henrik Larsson. The current team look really good going forward Christie, Forest, French Eddie, Griff and young Mikey but the answer to our defensive wows will not be found by playing Callum McGregor as a left back. He is much more effective playing in the middle of the field.
The new defenders Jullien and Boli were lambasted in recent weeks for sub-standard performances but they could not be blamed for last night as Lenny did not have the confidence to play them which brings into question who is signing these players and who was signing the players under Brendan Rodgers watch last season?
Peter Lawell your continued silence is deafening we need to build a team capable of competing in Europe not a Hotel.
Andrew started More than 90 Minutes in 2001. He has written for numerous publications and online about Celtic. One of his essays featured in Celtic Minded 2 and he is a former newspaper columnist with the Daily Ireland and the man behind celticfanzine.com. He is host of Celtic AM pre-match events at Malone’s in Glasgow on match days and follows Celtic Home & Away. He is a season ticket holder for Celtic FC and the Republic of Ireland. He is also P.R.O. of St. Margaret’s CSC, a member of the Celtic Trust and the Celtic Graves Association.