‘Stop passing It back’ and the need for a Celtic Fan Advisory Board

A few Celtic podcasts have started calling for Brendan Rodgers to be replaced as Celtic manager and there’s a feeling that the writing has been on the wall since before the double league defeats against Kilmarnock and Hearts in December 2023.

Liam Scales at full time after the Scottish Premiership defeat to Hearts at Celtic Park on December 16, 2023. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

There was a slight improvement after than and the pressure rescinded after another victory over theRangers, yet here we are with a 100% record against the latest Ibrox club but still find ourselves trailing then by two points.

Talk of Celtic being on an unbeaten run since the defeat at Celtic Park to Hearts masks the gravity of the situation Celtic is in with a crash in both form and confidence and a support that has taken, with plenty of justification, to booing the team after yet another dreadful performance.

Last weekend’s surrender of two points against Kilmarnock, meant we’d spilled five points against them in two games in which we were ahead. Surely that has led to a week of crisis management at Lennoxtown and we must surely see a reaction on Sunday at Fir Park against Motherwell? That though is now stated more in hope than expectation.

Was it clutching at straws yesterday to suggest that the timing of Joe Hart’s announcement to hang up his gloves in June, is likely to galvanise the Celtic squad to go on and achieve a double, to send Joe out on a high? We’ll find out on Sunday.

Today Brendan Rodgers will speak to the media at Lennoxtown and we’ll get the first indication of whether there’s a change in tone, and atmosphere or if it’s going to be more of the same. Rodgers seems somewhat subdued as Celtic manager this time, matched by the tactics and performances of his team, so many times this season it’s been underwhelming. The support sing about ‘Watching Glasgow Celtic, Putting on a Show” but this season the reality is that such shows have been few and far between.

Watching central defenders pass to wingers who mostly pass back to a defender is not what any of us would call the Celtic Way and many will be reminded of Ange Postecoglou roaring from the touchline at Celtic Park at his players in a League Cup game against Raith Rovers – “STOP PASSING IT BACK!” That was followed by a nervous and surprised ‘ohhhh’ from the Celtic support who could hear one man roaring above the stadium and you can be sure that the players on the park heard it too.

Results in European football didn’t suit Scottish football last night and it looks like the Czechia is almost certainly going to replace Scotland in the top ten in the UEFA rankings which will mean that next season will be the last for a while where the Scottish Champions go straight into the Group stages.

After that we’re back to the horrible, hazardous qualifiers (where the Celtic board wait to see if we get through before making the signings needed to get through, then we don’t qualify we don’t make the signing because they tell us they are so good businessmen) until such time as there’s another coefficient surge.

Czechia still have three clubs involved in European competition, we have one (theRangers) so it’s likely that the position will be sorted out on their favour in the later rounds with Celtic as usual nowhere to be seen. Brendan Rodgers did outline as one of his key objectives for this season securing European football after Christmas – ‘Oh will they say we’ve failed?’…yes, they will, Brendan. They will.

Celtic Manager Brendan Rodgers. Final score Celtic 1 Kilmarnock 1. Celtic v Kilmarnock, Cinch Scottish Premiership,Celtic Park, 17 February 2024 Photo Stuart Wallace Shutterstock

That of course means that the chance to get into the new format and increasing lucrative Champions League next season is crucial, as is the summer recruitment that should be Champions League focused with zero project signings coming through the door. That’s Brendan’s job to deliver, as he promised last June that he would.

I attended a meeting held by The Celtic Trust last night where they invited along representatives of the Celtic Fan Media to discuss the current situation at the club and to look at various ideas that the support can get involved in to provide us with a greater say in the way our club is being run. This meeting will be followed by another, this time for the wider support to attend and that is happening next week.

Last night there was clearly widespread unhappiness about the recruitment policy, the board, the manager, the football we’re watching and the lack of accountability from those running the club to the Celtic supporters.

David Watson of Kilmarnock scores with a header to tie the score 1-1 during time added on after 90 minutes. The goal stood following a VAR check for a foul. Celtic v Kilmarnock, Cinch Scottish Premiership, Football, Celtic Park, Glasgow, UK – 17 Feb 2024. Photo Stuart Wallace/Shutterstock

The other day we talked about Celtic’s Gathering Storm. There’s certainly momentum for such a storm, one of the folk from Celtic Trust pointed out that when Celtic are doing well the Trust does badly because no-one is interested when we’re successful on the park. However when Celtic do badly the Celtic Trust gets a surge in interest. They are getting ready for such a surge.

One of the key takeaways from last night was the early dialogue with a reluctant Celtic on the creation of a Fan Advisory Board. The UK Government told their clubs south of the border that if they didn’t introduce these themselves then they would legislate so the Premier League clubs are all active in introducing Fan Advisory Boards, so too are theRangers but not it seems at Celtic.

Celtic v Kilmarnock – Celtic chairman Peter Lawwell and CEO Michael Nicholson during the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park on Saturday February 17, 2024. Photo Andrew Milligan

Boycotts, banners, booing and all that stuff comes and goes and is usually justifiable but there would be something more tangible in Celtic supporters having more of a say through a Fan Advisory Board. Celtic like to point to their Fans Forum, where perhaps Michael Nicholson will turn up for an hour and answer questions from the floor. He is as likely to get asked about the pies being cold or there being no hot water in the toilets (both valid concerns) as anything to do with recruitment strategy and so on.

Back to Brendan. Today we should hope to hear a change in tone, a manager who is up for the fight and determined to win this league. On Sunday we’ll watch to see the improvement on the park as we set about winning all remaining games. That’s the only way to avoid the Gathering Storm, but whatever happens this season should convince us that Celtic supporters must have more of a say in the club and that is best done through the creation of a Fan Advisory Board.

Over to you Brendan.

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

1 Comment

  1. With DD still being the major shareholder, there isn’t a hope in hell of their being a fan on the board or a fan advisory committee.
    Dermot will tell us what is good for us via his puppet Lawwell Snr.
    Did I read somewhere that DD is the current major shareholder but there are other individuals who have, collectively, more of an investment, with a voice that should be heard?