By Ryan Fleming
For Celtic this has been a year to forget. And for their supporters it has never been a better time to reflect on the good ol’ days of the past and pull together whatever optimism they might still have for the future.
A lot has happened since I last talked about the Glasgow giants. Actually, I am not even sure I can consider them a “giant” anymore. When I refer to giants, like French giants, Bordeaux, Marseille and Lyon, or English giants, Manchester United or Chelsea. I think of teams that are top class, that are better than most, that are consistently in European play year after year.
Sure, the Hoops often make it to European competition, but if they cannot make it out of the group stages. I hardly consider that something to be mentioned.
Celtic suffered one of its worst defeats in its 122-year history last week when it was embarrassed, 2-0, by Ross County. The loss not only signifies how mediocre football is in the Scottish Premier League, but it also puts in question one of the worlds most popular and storied clubs.
One if Celtic’s newest signings, Edson Braafheid, walked out of Celtic Park when the defender found out he wasn’t included on the bench as a substitute. The Dutch international was fined and later talked to interim manager, Neil Lennon, about the incident.
Lennon has since taken over since the sacking of Tony Mowbray and seemed to have the Hoops heading in the right direction and playing with the sort of spirit that had been lacking the entire season. Lennon, himself, has always been bursting with passion, which is why I still think he would succeed as the permanent manager of the club– he is currently the club’s interim manager.
Sure, his managerial hopes might have taken a turn for the worst after last weekend’s implosion, but the Northern Irishman has told the board that he is serious about obtaining the job – that he is working for here and now and was totally against Mowbray’s long-term, two-three year plan.
After the loss on Saturday, Lennon locked his team in the locker room for 15 minutes and surely gave them an earful. He then handed a list of players he wants gone by the start of next season. Forwards Georgois Samaras and Marc-Antoine Fortune are almost definitely on that list as is midfielder Landry N’Guemo.
Another thing that Lennon has on his side, is his past with the club. The former Celtic captain made over 200 appearances with the Glasgow side and claimed five league titles while there – one of the Hoops’ most notable players.
Whatever the board’s decision is, Lennon has done a fine job with what he has. Many thought that Celtic were going to challenge Rangers for the SPL crown, but after the failed Mowbray experiment, morale within the club is low. Lennon has the right attitude and skills to turn things around.
Ryan Fleming is a contributing writer and editor for The Soccer Guys. He can be reached at email@example.com.