Right have we all got that out the system? Have we all extinguished our Ire? Not quite I’m sure but there is something looming on the horizon, something much more important to us all.
Bill Watterson once said, “We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.”
Last season we lost to our nearest league challengers in the dying embers of a Double Treble campaign.
We’ve done the same this year. Granted this one has probably caused a lot more reflection and gnashing of teeth than the home defeat to Aberdeen last year. Understandably so. It’s a Glasgow Derby and certain standards are always expected. The minimum of those standards is desire.
We’ve had the inevitable Lennon backlash, we’ve had a trawl through the squad and decided who we’d keep for next year and who we’d show the door. In reaching that conclusion we’ve no doubt decided that going forward heart and fight will be more of a requirement in the armoury than just the death by a thousand passes we’ve shown to date. I’ve come to the self-same conclusion.
There’s no hiding we took a kicking at Ibrox on Sunday, there’s absolutely no doubt there is also blame to apportion for the performance. The result could have been even worse had our opponents been more ruthless. There’s no questioning that the ability to scrap seems to only be attributed to a few, mostly ageing or currently injured members of our squad and it certainly needs addressing.
The management situation will also need to be resolved, it’s the elephant in the room. Whether you want Neil Lennon permanently, you want a big name manager with European credentials or you have no idea and just hope the Board do what they are paid to do and find the best possible man for the job, it’s becoming a bit of an itch that we are all needing to scratch and with every passing day it’s getting more uncomfortable.
The Board and our ex-manager shouldn’t be ignored when it comes to Sunday either. The recruitment process so neglected and flawed last summer has come home to roost.
There are players out there dead on their feet and playing through the pain barrier due to the simple fact their deputies are not trusted or worse disinterested. Those players who strap themselves up again and again like Brown, Lustig, McGregor, Tierney and Forrest need support from the Board.
They should have had that support building from a position of strength last summer. These lads were neglected and risks have had to be taken with their long term fitness as a result of having to return to the well so frequently to simply have players on the park a manager can trust. These trusted few players should have able and hungry players pushing them on and a manager who can call on and rely on those deputies when a player needs sent for some R&R.
Instead we have loan players in and projects out on loan or rattling around the place as untrusted back-ups and a recruitment process that will be under the spotlight even more this summer.
Rodgers eye was on an exit and the Board need no excuse for limiting investment at the best of times, but when Lawwell thought Rodgers was flirting with other suitors he wasn’t investing much, that’s for sure. Then when the inevitable did happen and he bolted mid-season, Rodgers sucked more mental energy from the players who believed in him and a support who counted him amongst their own. It took its toll. They battled on but it is evident we are seeing some of those effects kicking in.
But for the next 10 days we need to park all of this. None if it can be addressed before we play Hearts twice in a week. First the Trophy presentation on Sunday and then the small matter of the Cup Final on the sacred day of the 25th May.
If the elephant in the room is the management situation for the next 10 days we just need to find a big lampshade and let it blend with the furniture as best we can.
If the board is your issue we need to call a ceasefire for 10 days and sharpen our thoughts once the air clears on the morning of 26 May.
If the players are the subject of your ire, following that shameful display last Sunday we need to forgive them that aberration, forgiveness they have earned with 8 out the last 9 trophies already bagged and the Historic Treble Treble tantalisingly within reach.
For the next 10 days Celtic needs to unite as we do so well. The peripheral issues need to be put to the back of our minds, the future needs to be blanked as we focus on the here and the now.
On Sunday we will celebrate the lifting of an 8th consecutive Premiership, We’ll get to share with the players the fruits of their most challenging labour in 3 years. We get to thank guys like Scott Brown for pulling that team together and somehow getting them through a spell that could have seen the backside fall out a title challenge.
Men like Kieran Tierney who has put personal well-being, even his career on the line to pull on the Hoops and play and win for us.
To Forrest and McGregor who in the midst of all this turbulence have had individually their best seasons in Celtic shirts and guys like Lustig vilified as finished, past his best showing you don’t have to be born into Celtic to get what it’s all about, to strive through criticism and come out fighting and trophy laden.
We’ll get to show our gratitude to Neil Lennon and John Kennedy for stepping into the breech, keeping a winning formulae going when it was clear it was becoming frayed around the edges but with no time to alter it all mid-stream.
Then a week further on the pinnacle. Same opposition. The opportunity to become history makers. The first team to win the Treble Treble. NINE consecutive domestic trophies unbroken. This team would earn their place alongside the Club’s greatest heroes. Legends to a man.
We as a support get to back them to the hilt through the next 10 days, sing our songs in celebration of them and put any discontent aside.
We will hopefully God willing get to simply savour the moment, one of the very greatest moments. We’ll remember what went before good times and bad and simply press pause on it all for a moment, soak it up and just enjoy it.
As Emily Dickinson wrote “Forever is composed of nows”, everything else can wait. We’ll be having the party to end them all.