It been this way for several years now, but people are only starting to realise what Peter Lawwell is doing, and has done.
After last night’s defeat to Aberdeen, I got off the Ronny Deila bus for good. But if he goes, a major shake-up is needed in the Celtic hierarchy too. And Lawwell should be on that list of people getting the boot out the door.
He’s short changed Deila and us, but the Norwegian has been the scapegoat for many fans due to our poor signings. He’s got his own flaws, tactically naive at times and unwillingness to change anything, until it goes wrong. But once it goes wrong there’s no coming back – as his Plan B is nonexistent. The lack of fight in the team when we are behind says it all for me. They had no shape for the last 30 minutes last night, no direction. So it’s time to slam on the brakes and get on a new bus.
A total of 78 first-team players have been signed since Gordon Strachan left Celtic in 2009. Under Neil Lennon, we signed 42 players, and under Deila currently, we have signed 22 players.
See the growing trend?
The latest signing was Colin Kazim-Richards. A troubled career saw him land in Glasgow to put pen to paper on a two-and-a-half-year deal. What you might not have known is his agent is very familiar at Celtic. In my best Troy McClure impression, you might remember Dudu Dahan from such players as Nir Bitton and Efe Ambrose.
See another growing trend?
The agent of three current Celtic players is selling players to Lawwell, and is doing his job very well I must add. But that is no use to us.
After Kazim-Richards was frozen out of the Feyenoord team and suspended for two weeks for threatening a journalist, I imagine the conversation between the two went something like this.
Dahan: “Hi Peter I’ve got a player for you, a striker in fact.”
Dahan: “He’s got years of experience at international level and he’s played and scored in the Champions League and has been all across Europe scoring goals.”
Lawwell: “How much is he?”
Dahan: “Well, he’s free, we’re best pals so I’m helping you out.”
Lawwell: “Have him fly into Glasgow and we’ll sign him right away!” [grins]
Lawwell: “What’s his name by the way, Dudu?”
Dahan: “Colin Kazim-Richards.”
Lawwell: “Ooft, a double-barrelled surname on the jersey, get in!”
This tight-fisted approach has led us to where we are today. It’s also why Neil Lennon left in my eyes. He wanted to leave the club he adored and loved for a ‘new challenge’ – or he saw no ambition from those above him to take Celtic to the next level, so he didn’t sign further year on his rolling contract.
At least four other signings since Ronny Deila took over have been under the heavy influence of Lawwell. Two Lawwell’s, in fact. Mark Lawwell’s role at Manchester City has seen an influx of their talented players arrive at Paradise, with the exception of Dedryck Boyata, of course, the only one we bought. Jason Denayer, John Guidetti and most recently Patrick Roberts are talented, but short-term fixes for a long-term issue. We haven’t seen the latter in a Celtic jersey yet, but we’ve all seen what he’s capable of doing.
The issue is Lawwell. He appointed Deila, and he hasn’t hit the heights he said we would reach. We’ve been duped into thinking Deila is the problem. But if he goes and Lawwell doesn’t, we will be faced with the same scenario all over again.
If one goes, so does the other, along with all the backroom staff Deila never appointed in the first place. Another critical error over the last 18-months.
We are in the same position as this day 12 months ago in the league. Three points clear of Aberdeen and questions to be answered. This time round, however, we’ve witnessed an even poorer European campaign and we’ve been dumped out of the Scottish League Cup.
The team have regressed, but so has the fan support in huge numbers since the two losses to Molde last year and Ross County on Sunday.
Once these changes finally happen, in the board and the dugout, then we can start to progress again, because the Scottish talent we have in the dressing room is capable with one or two more additions – it’s just the application and leadership that needs tuning.