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‘Jumped before he was pushed’ Tom English hints at media briefing against Dom McKay

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Tom English has dropped a strong hint that Celtic briefed against Dom McKay.

Late on Friday afternoon the club announced that the Chief Executive had stepped down for personal reasons, his place being taken by Michael Nicholson who was described as an absolute team player.

Virtually no credence was given to what personal circumstances might involve, remarkably on Saturday morning The Scotsman, The Herald and Daily Mail were giving almost identical reasons for the sudden departure of McKay with the outgoing CEO portrayed in a less than competent light.

Reflecting on that four days after the announcement, English took to the BBC website explaining:

The following day brought stories in a few newspapers. The message relayed was that McKay wasn’t working out, that he was a bit out of his depth and that he jumped from his position before he was pushed. That ‘jumped before he was pushed’ expression appeared in several places. It wasn’t a figment of a journalist’s imagination and it didn’t drop out of the sky.

On pages 122/123 of today’s Daily Mail, McGowan writes:

In hindsight, Dominic McKay must wish he’d accepted that offer of help on the end of a phone. Peter Lawwell had a readymade crisis line on the nuts and bolts of running Celtic. And his successor chose not to call it.

Inexperienced in the world of football transfers and rebuilding a football club, that was his first mistake. Regrettably, it wouldn’t be his last.

Last night, the former chief operating officer of the Scottish Rugby Union paid a heavy price for his determination to go it alone when he lost the confidence of major shareholder Dermot Desmond… and jumped before he was pushed.

In The Scotsman, Andrew Smith added:

It is understood that the “personal reasons” centre on a lack of conviction from the Celtic board that McKay, who left his role as chief operating officer at the Scottish Rugby Union to take on his now vacated post, was the right fit for the club.

Celtic are believed to feel the problems over McKay’s assimilation into the football world made it necessary to make a clean break with the former Celtic season book holder at the earliest opportune moment, the end of the window regarded as affording that.

Alison McConnell in The Herald revealed:

It is understood, however, that the reasons behind the departure came after what was regarded as an inauspicious impression in the opening months of McKay’s time in charge. The feeling within the club was that it would be best for all parties if ties were severed now rather than a continuation with an appointment that was deemed to have been an imperfect fit.

Michael Gannon of the Daily Record returned to the theme with:

But Record Sport understands McKay jumped before he was pushed after major players behind the scenes admitted the appointment was not working.

McKay oversaw a major rebuilding mission under boss Ange Postecoglou with 12 players coming in and even more heading in the other direction. There was friction in the background, however, over the direction the club was going and the structural changes that were on the way.

There were other similarities in the themes and wording used to explain the rapid exit of McKay, the continued involvement of Peter Lawwell was dismissed as the warped thinking of keyboard warriors.

Smith in The Scotsman revealed:

Meanwhile, claims awash on cyberspace across Friday evening that out-going Peter Lawwell had a part to play in McKay’s rapid downfall are considered to be a complete red herring, and wishful thinking on the part of what has developed into a rabid anti-Lawwell faction among the club’s fanbase.

Across at The Herald McConnell explained:

Lawwell, despite much social media frothing, has had little influence over proceedings since leaving his post at the end of last season.

Interestingly both McConnell and Smith used the same quote from Ange Postecoglou following the Champions League exit against Midtjylland. In The Herald they went with:

Celtic exited the Champions League at the first hurdle this summer when Midtjylland progressed at their expense. In the immediate aftermath of the defeat Ange Postecoglou, the Celtic manager, was critical of the club’s hesitancy in getting players in quickly.

“I have been trying to be as forceful as I can about what we need to bring in, and the challenges we have had are well chronicled,” said the Greek-Australian.

“We haven’t got players in, I obviously haven’t done a good enough job convincing people we needed to bring people in. I’m not going to shy away from it. I don’t say that because I’m some kind of martyr, I just think that’s my responsibility, that’s why I was brought in.”

Over at The Scotsman Smith went with:

In the aftermath of the Champions League qualifying elimination in Midtjylland in late July, the Australian coach hinted at issues over the pace of recruitment to bolster a depleted squad when he stated: “We haven’t got players in, I obviously haven’t done a good enough job convincing people we needed to bring people in … I’ve been trying to be as forceful as I can about what we need to bring in”.

Beyond Friday’s statement acting CEO Nicholson hasn’t said anything about his appointment.

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