Diplomatic or drastic? Brendan’s dilemma.
After playing a blinder throughout the early weeks of his Celtic career Brendan Rodgers was confronted by a horrible reality as he watched ‘his’ team lose 1-0 to Lincoln Red Imps on Tuesday night.
Every comment from the Celtic manager had been upbeat, the players were looking great, their attitude was positive, they were responding to his ways and ideas. Nadir Ciftci had something to offer, he was impressed by James Forrest, Scott Allan would get his chance, he wanted to promote from the Academy.
Having inherited such a bloated squad trimming upto a dozen players was essential. Getting a workable sized squad would make life easier and create space for quality additions such as Moussa Dembele.
Tuesday night’s defeat was a wake up call with red flags everywhere. As well as being short on quality the squad that Rodgers inherited was short on heart. A squad that rarely survived going a goal behind, a squad that was vulnerable when they went in front.
Throw in the 1980s astroturf, searing temperatures and a managerial debut and the defeat from Lincoln Red Imps wasn’t quite the shock some have claimed. A Celtic side that struggled to a 2-0 win over East Kilbride in the Scottish Cup needs more than a new manager to become competent in Europe.
With Carlton Cole, Stefan Scepovic, Anthony Stokes and Colin Kazim Richards moved on Rodgers has started the task of clearing the decks. Now the new manager needs to get pushy and demanding.
If he wants Kolo Toure and the defender is interested a 12 month contract should be resolved, a deal shouldn’t be dependent on the fitness of Jozo Simunovic, Dedryck Boyata or the transfer of Efe Ambrose.
After the fanfare and flood of season ticket sales Rodgers has completed the PR exercise in style. Brendan the manager needs to emerge, ruthless and decisive putting HIS team on the park.
If contracts need to be written off then they should be. Rodgers can’t be expected to perform miracles and produce a squad of 22 players on top of their game playing to their full potential.
The departure of Stokes shows what can be done. A fresh start and signing on fee might appeal to some of the players clogging up the Lennoxtown dressing room.
When he names his team to face Lincoln Red Imps on Wednesday snap judgements will be made on the new Celtic boss.
If he is prepared to give repeat offenders further rope then he is creating a noose for himself.
The Champions League group stage is essential for Celtic on so many levels. Most of the players that failed in Gibraltar aren’t capable of seeing of Malmo or Maribor or of reaching the group stage of the Champions League.
Leaving the mistakes of the Deila era to one side would be one of the best decisions that the new Celtic boss could make.