Date: 17th April 2016 at 4:17pm
Written by:

Lawwell BankierStep forward Peter Lawwell, Iain Bankier, Tom Allison, Ian Lord Livingston, Christopher McKay, Eric Riley and Brian Wilson. And if there is not a major overhaul of the club in the next 24 hours then Dermot Desmond can be added to the list of those that have patronised and betrayed a fantastic support and brought Celtic to their knees.

Under an insipid manager the board of directors have sat on their hands as the club has gone backwards at an incredible and barely predictable rate. Today’s result is no surprise, this is a Celtic team capable of losing to anyone, a team that struggled to a 2-0 win over East Kilbride!

Less than three years ago Celtic had reached the last 16 of the Champions League and were about to pocket £20m from the sales of Victor Wanyama and Gary Hooper.

The high-fiving in the boardroom came against a backdrop of executive bonuses as a Tory like plan to squeeze spending and maximise income was cranked up.

The folly of that policy has been apparent over the last two seasons, today it became crystal clear as the focal point for the business was given the runaround by a club less than four years old, a collection of misfits that couldn’t fill their substitute bench but one which had a plan, desire and a mental investment in the game.

Directors have a responsibility to shareholders, if they believe in their chief executive and his policies they are badly out of touch. If they are concerned/alarmed/terrified of the direction the club is going in they have a duty to stand up and speak out.

Their silence says everything.

Less than a handful of the Celtic players will give today’s result a thought when they enjoy their summer holidays which will now start a week earlier than expected.

Among the directors the only concern will be that season tickets sales will now require some effort, perhaps the chief executive will need to arrange another series of road shows, as he did in 2010, after ditching the disastrous Mowbray experiment.

Peter Lawwell salaryThe pay and bonus structure of Peter Lawwell

The £1m a year man has been living a charmed life in recent times, keeping your club out of administration is hardly something to crow about, two Champions League campaigns in seven years is derisory.

Feeling invincible and with his power growing in every area of the club Lawwell turned to Ronny Deila to front things up, a genuinely nice fella who could string along managerial buzzwords and cliches but best of all answered most questions with the words ‘Yes Peter’.

As another bonus the nice guy from Norway, who had been looked on as a potential assistant manager, was willing to come on board for a third of the chief exec’s salary! Lovely jubbly.

The alarm bells, or red flags to use a more trendy term, should have been waved after failing with two attempts at reaching the group phase of the Champions League. Eighteen months after facing Juventus for a place in the last eight Legia Warsaw and Maribor were giving Celtic the runaround.

Development, pace and fitness were the calling cards used to excuse the humiliation of players shoe-horned into an uncomfortable 4-2-3-1 formation.

Despite gut instincts about feckless performances, Deila was given last season, the same basic flaws remained, but there was some signs of improvement. However Malmo killed that notion stone dead.

Any executive with an instinct for the game could see it. There was no improvement, it was a work in motion, sadly backwards rather than forward.

After his side collapsed in Malmo Deila said: “We were not even close to the level we can be at. We looked very uncomfortable on the ball. We didn’t want the ball and looked very frightened and scared. That’s so disappointing.

It was not like one player here or there, it was a team performance which was not at the level we can expect in these games.”

It’s a favoured and regular line in excuses, it was trotted out regularly during that dismal Europa League ‘campaign’, it was heard again after being trashed by Ross County in the League Cup despite going in front within a minute.

Today the same platitudes are being used.

Take your pick from ‘Of course, I’m very disappointed to lose and not very satisfied at the performance either/ We could have been better. We didn’t press well enough in first half and weren’t intense enough/ The positive is we came back twice and created some chances but, overall, this isn’t the best day we have had/ Now we just have to lift ourselves after this disappointment and get the league over the line’.

Having supervised an unprecedented decline it will be an act of gross corporate failure on the part of Riley, Livingston, Bankier, McKay, Wilson and Allison if their chief executive allows Deila to supervise another training session.

What are they waiting for? To see if the title can be presented to an Aberdeen team that can take the lead away to Motherwell and Hearts in the title run in and still lose?

Whatever course of action is planned after today’s humiliation no supporter can have any degree of trust in the current board.

There are a multitude of issues to be addressed, the misplaced trust in the SFA and failure to grasp the licensing issues of 2011 being a prime example.

The Celtic support is faithful and unflinching but there is a limit, they won’t nod and bow like the gullible lot across the city, the campaign of 93/94 is still relatively fresh.

When Deila is removed from his job no one should be under any illusions that a problem has been solved, one symptom will be killed off but the source remains.

A culture of complacency has brought the club to its knees, only when those involved are moved on, when we have a manager with clout backed by directors who care beyond their next expenses claim will Celtic supporters have a club that they can trust and fully engage with.

Whoever comes in to replace Deila has a decent group of players to work with but for every Tierney, Rogic, Sviatchenko, Griffiths, Christie and Henderson there are plenty who have failed to grasp what it is all about.

Let’s hope the leadership finally emerges from today’s disaster, the men in the boardroom are now being watched very very carefully.