The gaslighting of the Celtic support has returned alongside Peter Lawwell

As the song goes ‘for a minute there, I lost myself’. I was under the impression Celtic had begun to modernise, had started to play catch-up with those football clubs who had taken advantage of our hitherto decade of inertia to embrace modern analytical processes and think outside the box in the recruitment of players, alongside how they were measured and coached.

It even looked as if European ambition was emerging, replacing satisfaction with domestic dominance – all the while skipping hand in hand with a rival, one we have always been far too cosy with in whichever guise they appeared – may now have been recognised as far too insular an approach. It appeared we were raising our eyes above the level of Scottish football and recognising just what Celtic could become.

Photo: Jeff Holmes

Then you realise, if any of that is to continue beyond the tenure of Ange Postecoglou, it would take vision, an embracing of change and some fresh ideas at a boardroom level. A group who could be inspired by the dramatic changes that have taken place under the stewardship of our manager and awaken from their slumber.

As Celtic announced the worst kept secret in Scottish football, that Peter Lawwell was returning -as if he’d ever left – and this time as Chairman of the club, it’s safe to say another pale, male and stale appointment at boardroom level will ensure, whenever Ange Postecoglou moves on, that much of the good work done in such a short space of time will likely follow him out the door. Cronyism and nepotism will however remain.

Apparently the gaslighting of the Celtic support has also returned, how else could you explain the press release which stated alongside a shiny brass-neck – “Against any reasonable benchmark, Celtic has prospered over the last decade and beyond”?

Ange Postecoglou Unveiling – Celtic Park Friday June 25, 2021. Photo: Jeff Holmes

Well, if your benchmark was entirely based on staying ahead of a rival who passed away in 2012, then emerged like Frankenstein’s monster and spent four years not even playing in the same league as Celtic, then perhaps that’s true.

If the shooting of fish in a Scottish league barrel is your benchmark, then Celtic have been successful. However, if you believe Celtic is a club who should have European ambitions and should be benchmarked against how we perform against clubs in in that sphere, rather than Aberdeen and Motherwell, then ‘prospered over the last decade’ seems somewhat disingenuous to say the least, particularly as for the vast majority of that period we have been thoroughly embarrassed on the European stage.

And much of that was down to the downsizing of our ambitions, a lack of forward thinking and an ignoring of the footballing revolution that was emerging during the entire ten-year period the Celtic board alluded to in their statement. The fact they either believe this – or simply want the Celtic support to believe this – is a worrying sign. They either think this is what we want, or more likely it is the extent of their capabilities and vision, either way it is concerning.

After all it’s hard to forget that by the time the former CEO had moved on Celtic’s playing squad needed the sort of surgery that no team in a two-team league should ever require to be carried out in one fell swoop, that in itself was a sign of the malaise that had long since set in under Peter Lawwell.

Now I appreciate Peter Lawwell is ‘returning’ not as CEO but as Chairman, and had it been anyone else you could possibly be satisfied there would be no blurring of the lines, or at least give them benefit of the doubt. But when you consider the role of CEO appeared insufficient to satisfy the ego of Lawwell in his last job, and instead the de facto Director of Football role he appeared to appoint himself to helped feed that ego far more satisfactorily, it makes you wonder if he’d be capable of sticking to his role.

Financial experts agree that the executive chairman and the CEO shouldn’t be the same person, they are also split on whether a former CEO should become chairman of the same company. Can we be certain, even if not officially the case, that the levels of interference outside his remit, apparently exhibited previously, will not now extend to his new position, and therefore possibly undermine Lawwell’s former pupil Michael Nicholson, who may be in a tough position to argue back considering Lawwell’s position within Dermot Desmond’s circle of trust?

After the stepping down of Ian Bankier, hope was there we’d appoint someone who would not only fight Celtic’s corner against a governing body in need of reform and unfit for purpose, but also show their workings in public, particularly after what we’ve witnessed with the introduction of VAR in recent weeks.

History shows even if a ‘smoking gun’ was handed to Peter Lawwell that pistol would likely be never be used in evidence. Those involved with Resolution 12 could comment with some authority on the man’s integrity in that regard. And to that end Lawwell’s influence is likely not to result in Celtic pushing for reform or challenging the ineptitude – or indeed bias – of the governing bodies, but instead will mean a seat at the back of the bus once again.

And questions need to be asked, as with too many appointments at Celtic, if due diligence was carried out. Did we interview several candidates and did we ensure the process didn’t favour anyone in particular? Was there someone independent in place to ensure the best of those candidates was offered the post and all who were considered scored in an equal manner? You’d hope so, but would you have confidence in that happening? Not with the lack of transparency at Celtic.

The appointment of Ange Postecoglou has seen massive strides in how Celtic play football, but all we’ve done so far is start catching up with European clubs who have been doing what we are now doing for many years.

If the manager moves on, then it would be essential Celtic appointed someone with a similarly modern mindset. With a board almost exclusively consisting of ageing white males, is there any hope that some modern thinking could emerge, a consolidated vision that would ensure we were at the forefront of change rather than reverting to playing catch-up? Well, if the ambition of the chairman appointment is anything to go by the evidence points to the club plateauing at best rather than continuing our awakening.

Celtic have seen in the past what happens when jobs for the boys, family ties and an insular pool of candidates are placed in important positions, whilst other organisations take a more outward looking approach and challenge themselves to be the best they can be, indeed this appointment of Peter Lawwell to the role of chairman also smells of White – and Kelly of course.

Niall J

About Author

As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was the finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parkhead's gates.


  1. I was a Fergus McCann man when the majority had no time for him, the so called present day visionaries.
    Celtic in my day competed at the top in world football with majority Scottish players.
    At the moment Lawell is down the list in my thoughts, the struggle with results in the last minutes,extra time is my concern.
    Australia trip with guys missing sitters and the consistency of running about getting nowhere is worrying.
    I just hope it changes, the ambitions of the celtic forums sometime disappointing.
    We need a couple of great investment signings and look like we need a big clear out.
    Missing sitters, penalties, short and poor passes, balls a mile over the bar are now the norm. Let’s sort it.
    The league is nowhere near won.
    Lawell just fits what’s there, a figurehead nobody.

  2. When the whites and Kellys ran our club into the ground and Fergus saved us (who incidentally was barracked by a large section of our fans when hoisting our first league flag in a decade) he allowed 3 of the old board to stay on we never complained much about that as they didn’t have significant positions( even though one of them was present when jock Stein was thrown onto the street) Now we turn on a guy who led us over one of our most successful periods in our history because we never won 10 in a row. Sure it hurt us but did it hurt more than watching them win 9 in a row in the 90s? It certainly didn’t for me. We have sadly turned our backs on lenny too which i never thought would happen. Maybe too much success is our downfall.

    • William Melvin on

      I think you’ll find that fucking up the ten is way down the list where the Celtic fans consider him deeds while in the CEO’s chair.
      How about lying to the AGM about not having viewed the infamous 5 way agreement.
      Perhaps,refusing to use the smoking gun the requisitioned supplied him with regarding the huns being given a licence to play in the champions league qualifiers when the should have been barred despite having promised he would act on it.
      Mibbe appointing your hero Lennon in the showers instead of carrying out due diligence for the appointment.
      If those aren’t to your liking,how about sickening a top class manager to the extent that he left the club like a thief in the night because of his interference in the acquisition of players,many of whom were not required.
      Then there is his appeasement of the Huns and the SFA where if the shoe had been on the other foot we would have been slaughtered.
      All that before you even start with the stripping of titles post 2012 etc.
      A disastrous appointment of a parasitic coward by a boardroom of the same.
      Absolutely sickening,and l hope the Green Brigade mobilise furious protests until the ehole corrupt cabal are swept out of our beloved club for ever.Never forget,he betrayed his own to help those at Ibrox and Hampden.
      I won’t !

  3. Please start acting like a celtic man and not a rangers person. You are so embarrassing. Shame on you.