Why are we waiting?

Published on Tuesday 18th May, 2010 by Celtic Trust

They say that nature abhors a vacuum and it would be also true to say that we humans are very uncomfortable with the uncertainty of not knowing. Its several months since Tony Mowbray got the chop and the way things are going he might be in place in a new post before his old post is filled. In the meantime Neil Lennon presided over the rebirth of team on the field accumulating an impressive 8 back to back SPL victories in very difficult circumstances and finishing the season on a high with wins over Rangers and Hearts respectively. It’s not every week you get to beat the big ones and the wee ones over the course of 7 days. It would be true to say that the team has been totally transformed under Lennon’s stewardship, what was once a soft underbelly has metamorphosed into a six pack and the snivel have been replaced by snarls. In fact the team look a whole lot more like Neil Lennon than Tony Mowbray. Don’t get me wrong here; I welcomed the appointment of Tony Mowbray this time last year. He was a brave choice I thought and one who might bring a little style and panache as well as a winning mentality. I’d have to say that although we came away from Pittrodre on the first day of the season glowing and singing his praises that was as good as it got. Soon afterwards we began to haemorrhage points and the dismal performance at the Death Star should have sounded alarm bells even though it was a game we would have won with an impartial referee. Very soon the squandering of points became habitual. I recall games at Tannadice and Tynecastle were we collapsed and were beaten after leading for much of the games. The defence was a shambles and forwards seemed to think it was ok to squander chance after chance. There didn’t appear to be any consequences. What’s more there seemed to have been a loss of desire. The arrival of Neil Lennon changed all that practically overnight. His arrival was like an injection of Viagra into Celtic’s waning libido. Does anyone suggest that had the Ross County game took place a few weeks later than it did that we would have looked such a lost cause as we did on the field that day? I don’t think so. The team that went on to roll over all comers for the rest of the season would have had the desire and the backbone to beat Ross County and go on and win the Scottish Cup. Lennon has brought to Celtic that which Tony Mowbray, for whatever reason, couldn’t muster, namely, the desire to win. Call it what you like, backbone, spirit, pride in the jersey all these qualities which were absent under Mowbray became palpable under Lennon. That in itself was the measure of his achievement. That is why he should be appointed forthwith and given at least a minimal budget to bring in the few players which can continue the transformation. I know there are people out there amongst the Celtic support who will say that Lennon’s appointment demonstrates a lack of ambition. That we should aim higher. Precisely where we are meant to aim is never clear. They seem to be completely devoid of even a minimal grasp of what’s available within our price range out there. It’s not as if ‘the special one’ is sitting at home anxiously awaiting a call from Peter Lawwell before deciding on his options or that David Moyes is ready to hop on the 7.30 to Glasgow Central to sign up. Off course I’d like Martin O’Neill to come back and pick up where he left off. I’d also like to hold on to Robbie Keane and bring in Damien Duff and Craig Bellamy. I’d not only like us to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League but to actually go on and win it. But I’m not going to give out if we don’t. My guess is there are people out there who would give out even if we did, because they would be unhappy with the ‘style of play’ we employed whilst coming back from 2-0 down with 10 men against a Barcelona team including Messi, Rooney, Villa and Fabregas. Meanwhile back in the real world it’s time to get our preparations underway for next season and we can only do this with a Manager in place. Most of us at the Celtic Trust and the overwhelming majority of fans I’ve spoken to in recent weeks think it’s now time to appoint Lenny. Barry Ferguson is no friend of the club but he hit the nail on the head when he said Neil Lennon is one of the few people out there who can bring to Celtic what Walter Smith brought back to Rangers: the desire to win. God knows I’m no fan of Uncle Wattie’s style of ‘anti football’, but the truth is he has done exceptionally well on very limited resources since his return to Ibrox. He knows what is required to grind out results and you need to be able to do that before you can go all expansive and flamboyant ‘total football’ man. The announcement that Peter Lawwell and Neil Lennon are to respond to the Celtic Trust proposal and go on the road in a series of ‘Open Meeting’s’ with the fans is to be welcomed. It would seem strange in the extreme to organise the first of these meetings for Glasgow on Friday 28th May with Lennon in attendance and then appoint someone else. Hopefully this is an indication that the decision to appoint Lenny has already been taken in principle and that the delay in announcing the appointment is caused by the need to put in place certain other contingencies. If and when the appointment is announced the new Manager needs to know that the quid pro quo is that he has our support for the whole of next season and that those of us who have consistently argued for his appointment will not be found wanting.


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