It seemed a strange comment to drop into an article which appeared to praise the work of Ange Postecoglou through gritted teeth, whilst keen to point out the weight of expectation the Celtic boss had built up last season may yet hold him down in this campaign.
To that end the giving with one hand and taking away with the other is par for the course for Keith Jackson when it comes to writing about Celtic.
Yet the comment regarding Peter Lawwell in Jackson’s Daily Record column this morning that only ‘curmudgeonly’ Celtic fans wouldn’t give credit to our former CEO and de facto director of football for bringing Ange Postecoglou to Celtic seemed somewhat out of keeping with the article itself.
“There may be some curmudgeonly Celtic fans out there who find it impossible to give credit where it is due, but even they must give a grudging nod towards former chief executive Peter Lawwell for making this happen in the first place.
“They may have chased him out of office not that long ago but, before he left, Lawwell had the creative thinking to identify Postecoglou as the perfect parting present.”
After three months of chasing Eddie Howe only to be jilted at the altar, the Celtic board were in a desperate situation. With all their eggs in the Howe basket Ange Postecoglou arrived and saved their bacon, but to dress it as in anyway ‘creative’ smacks of giving too much credit to our former CEO, or any other member of our board.
After all they sat on their hands when Neil Lennon should have been punted way sooner than he was, as a disastrous 20/21 season unravelled, and even then, no new manager was put in place. Instead, John Kennedy stepped into the breach showing any succession planning at Celtic was non-existent.
After all, had Ange Postecoglou been Peter Lawwell’s or the Celtic board’s first choice would he not have been contacted after the delayed sacking of Lennon, prior to putting John Kennedy in as caretaker manager, or at the end of that season? And would he not have been available as we courted Eddie Howe – or at any point during the three months it took to work out Howe wasn’t for exchanging rings?
In truth few of us care as to how or why Ange Postecoglou arrived at Celtic only that he did, and if any member of the Lawwell family wants to take credit for it, then more power to their ego.
But some may well care if Peter Lawwell was to return to a prominent role at Celtic, and that seems to me to be what this plant, alongside various other comments from Celtic board members in recent months is, as they look to introduce a narrative that Peter Lawwell’s ‘parting gift’ was Ange Postecoglou.
Even if it was, it was by accident rather than design, as a result of fighting fires, rather than having a coherent plan in place for a new manager. And more likely involved a panicked call to Mark Lawwell, for any advice from the City Group as to Howe they could get out of the mess they blamed Eddie for.
Yet what is concerning is Celtic and compliant media lackeys seem keen to continue the Peter is our saviour narrative. And if Lawwell wasn’t expected to step into the Chairman’s role when Ian Bankier steps down -possibly at an upcoming AGM – then why worry about the legacy of a retired CEO?
After all there was a guy in that role for five minutes who was airbrushed out of history, so there is hardly form for protecting anyone else’s reputation.
Instead, this smacks of trying to win hearts and minds of a support by rewriting history, with a view to paving the way for a Peter Lawwell comeback, and of a board very much concerned – after the fallout from attempting to employ a former Assistant Chief Constable – as to what the reaction may be.
You get the feeling Keith Jackson’s out of keeping comment in his column today may have been sent to test the temperature of the water.