‘There’s No ‘I’ In Team, But There’s One in Win’

The title of this article comes from a quote attributed to Michael Jordan, a man widely renowned as the greatest athlete of all time (the GOAT, if you will!).

Without context the sentiment may come across as selfish, but Jordan later explained that in his playing days his sheer will to win meant that he would do whatever it took – whether that was as part of the team, or by playing as an individual – to ensure the Chicago Bulls were victorious.

 Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls goes to the basket past Shandon Anderson of the Utah Jazz 14 June during game six of the NBA Finals at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, UT. The Bulls lead the best-of-seven series 3-2. Photo MIKE NELSON/AFP via Getty Images

We know of course that Ange Postecoglou is very much about the team and about the collective effort of the group, rather than the individual, and it would make for an interesting debate should the two ever meet to discuss the merits of Jordan’s quote.

A value that both men do agree on however is the importance of winning and of being successful.

Celtic‘s win on Saturday against Motherwell wasn’t our best performance under Ange.

It wasn’t the free flowing creative football we’re used to.

It wasn’t the high scoring contest some anticipated.

But it was a win.

Celtic v Motherwell – Reo Hatate shoots towards goal during the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, Saturday October 1, 2022. Photo Will Matthews

And in the “every point’s a prisoner” world of the Scottish Premiership then that’s the most important thing.

Many supporters arrived at Celtic Park on Saturday expecting a swashbuckling performance and goals galore against our 8th placed opponents – especially as it was our first game back since that shock defeat by St Mirren – but it wasn’t to be.

It would be harsh on Celtic to describe the win as nervy, but heading into the final minutes of the game with ten men (following Callum McGregor’s dismissal) and with a narrow 2-1 lead meant that we were one break of the ball away from Motherwell stealing a point which they would have ill deserved.

Celtic v Motherwell – cinch Premiership – Callum McGregor is shown a red card. Photo Will Matthews

Much debate has followed amongst fans since with many holding firm on the “a win’s a win” stance, whilst others argued that we should be performing far better against a limited Motherwell side at home.

On our weekly show (Recorded on Monday, 3 October) both Paddy and Mif suggested that we’ve perhaps been spoiled by some of the impressive football we witnessed in the opening weeks of the season as we swept aside the likes of Kilmarnock (5-0), Dundee United (9-0) and Rangers (4-0) to display our domestic dominance.

Before the victory against Motherwell however we had gone three games without a win. A very rare occurrence for this Ange Postecoglou side. Granted one of those losses was to Champions League holders Real Madrid in early September, followed by a draw with Shakthar Donetsk and then that defeat by St Mirren.

The last time Celtic went three without winning under Ange was in his very first three competitive games in charge at the beginning of last season. A home draw with FC Midjtylland, a defeat by the same opponents in Denmark, and then an opening day league defeat by Hearts at Tynecastle.

Make no mistake, three games without winning is a very rare occurrence for this Ange Postecoglou side.

Celtic v Motherwell – cinch Premiership – Joe Hart applauds supporters following the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, Saturday October 1, 2022. Photo Will Matthews

Winning is a habit, and one that Michael Jordan become seriously hooked on during his time on the basketball court.

Let’s hope that Ange and the Bhoys can use Saturday’s win as the catalyst to kick on to bigger successes in the week’s ahead – starting with tomorrow’s crucial Champions League tie with RB Leipzig in Germany.

Tune in now as we discuss the win v Motherwell, our prospects versus RB Leipzig and much more in this latest episode of The Celtic Exchange Weekly.

Enjoy this Episode on Spotify…

About Author

A child of the 80s, I have hazy memories of being at the Centenary Cup final at Hampden in May 1988 as we won the league & cup double, but then had to wait almost exactly a decade for our next league title as Wim Jansen & Co stopped the 10! I’m the founder and host of The Celtic Exchange podcast where we now produce several shows per week covering all things Celtic.