Celtic legend Kenny Dalglish has warned fans that they may need to be patient over the next couple of seasons as Steven Gerrard has been building something at Rangers for three seasons. Given the platform that has been built across the city, Dalglish feels that the title may not immediately be won back and that Celtic supporters need to give the new CEO and management staff time to restore Celtic’s position as top dogs, when they arrive.
Writing in his Sunday Post column, Dalglish said: “The new gaffer, and director of football, will not have a magic wand. There will be work to do on the current squad, including what happens to skipper, Scott Brown. They are also coming in at a period when Rangers have quite a start on them. Steven Gerrard has been building something at Rangers for nearly three years. It took him and his staff time to get it to where they are now, on the verge of winning the league title for the first time in a decade.”
There’s no doubt that Celtic have been a distant second this season, but the Hoops do still have a larger budget and, many feel, a stronger squad on paper. A considerable rebuilt awaits, but if done properly then the Bhoys have every chance of competing again. After all, one season hardly outweighs nine years of dominance. However, Dalglish isn’t so sure.
“Taking all of this into account, there will need to be patience and understanding shown by the Celtic supporters for the new people in the boardroom, technical area and out on the pitch,” he continued.
“Success may well not happen immediately. People may well need to be prepared for that. But there is a better chance of winning games and silverware if everyone is pulling in the same direction. At all levels, Rangers were patient with Steven and he has rewarded the club with a domestic title on the horizon and even more success on the European front.”
One could argue that COVID-19 saved Gerrard’s job as opposed patience. Indeed, the Englishman was none too popular with the Ibrox support after looking set to concede a second treble on the bounce to Celtic. That did ultimately happen, but the league being cut short changed the narrative in the minds of Rangers fans despite being 13 points behind, on a run of horrendous form and having few games left to play. That said, Gerrard survived and hit the reset button this season.
In terms of Celtic’s reset, Dalglish believes that there are many different models his former club could follow.
“One of the key elements as to how Celtic get on will be on how the relationship with the director of football and the manager works,” he said. “For a start, which role will be put in place first? I’ve been a manager and I’ve been a director of football. There is no right or wrong way. Do you prefer a nice piece of fish or a nice cut of steak? It really comes down to the individual club and the way they see the model and order of appointments working best for them.”
What is perhaps most important, in the opinion of King Kenny, is the cohesion between a director of football and a manager.
“What shouldn’t be up for debate is that the lines of both roles must be clearly defined so that everybody knows where they stand from the off. If there are any grey areas, then it may lead to fall out further down the line. Celtic do not need self-inflicted turbulence next season. So the Celtic hierarchy need to be very careful, and precise, in how they handle these massive appointments.”