CELTIC face Lille tomorrow night with a backdrop of fan unrest and just two wins in twelve games. The Celtic board have decided that Neil Lennon will be afforded their backing into the New Year, which has dismayed more than a few supporters.
Last night, images emerged of another protest at the stadiums as fans took aim at the board and the manager. However, whilst we are entitled to question the board and their failings in allowing us to year after year go into Champions League qualifiers under equipped or failing to replace Brendan Rodgers with a like-for-like replacement, there is still a league title to win.
— Ayr Bhoys C.S.C (@AyrBhoys) December 8, 2020
The board were warned, 10IAR was never a project and that they had to appropriately back it or it would fail. Whether it fails or not won’t be known until May but the signs aren’t great as we sit in December.
The title race is not over, there is plenty of football still to be played and three games against theRangers. Celtic have proven time and time again to bounce back with the winners mentality but they need to be backed. Neil Lennon will remain the manager until at least the New Year and he, along with the players, need all our support. Whether the management team and the players have it in them to turn it around is another matter but the fact remains that Celtic have come back from worse and thrown away better leads.
This crop of Celtic players may never have been in this position before, the fans are on their back and their effort must be questioned to a degree but it goes back to the fact that there is a lot of games to be played still. After the New Year, until the split, Celtic have a more favourable run than their Ibrox counterparts.
Last season, Celtic went to Ibrox and won 2-0 with just under 900 supporters in the corner. There will likely be none in the game, it will come down to the players on the park and those in the dugouts. Celtic have got a better squad on paper but as Brian Clough said, ‘games of football are played on grass’. Celtic need to find their mojo and swagger but with this cloud of uncertainty it is almost a foregone conclusion that it will be red, white and blue streamers on the title in May. It is not.
In Gordon Strachan’s last season, Celtic went to Ibrox and won, opening up a seven point gap but ended up losing the league. That season would have made it four in a row but Celtic opted against signing guys like Steven Fletcher and James McCarthy and opted for Willo Flood.
With that said, the board can continually be scrutinised and held to account. The AGM is next week but the chances are that the usual powderpuff questions will be thrown up and batted away on the virtual call. The Celtic Board need to indicate that they will open dialogue with Celtic supporters, with a view to having a fan forum in the summer whereby fans can have an input into the future of the club.
The scenes have been totally avoidable by the club. They have not given the supporters enough credit for their support this season amidst a global pandemic. The communication from the hierarchy has been poor, worse than that maybe and fans are rightfully disgruntled. Had they backed Lennon after the second humiliation by Sparta Prague then maybe results might have been different in this last fortnight. Their inaction raised questions as to how long he would be in the job.
Come May, there will be a Premiership winner 2020/21, whether that is Celtic remains to be seen but the title is still in our hands and the team need our support. A run of fixtures that is winnable, including a cup final, could take us to Ibrox on a high and a win there would open the league right up again. The board, however, still have a long way back to earn the trust of the Celtic support.