With Celtic regaining the SPFL Premiership title this week Peter Lawwell has decided that he deserves some of the credit, probably most of it.
Last season you barely heard a word from the Celtic CEO as the campaign disintegrated despite years of boasting about having a solid business plan geared towards delivering success (domestically).
Successive disastrous transfer windows since Youssouf Mulumbu was preferred to John McGinn had left the squad dependent on a declining core of key players.
Vakoun Bayo, Marian Shved, Boli Bolingoli, Hated Abd Elhamed, Ismaila Soro and Patryk Klimala were followed onto the wage bill by Vasilis Barkas and Albian Ajeti. Their contribution was minimal.
The negotiating skills that cost Celtic McGinn resurfaced when Fraser Forster opted to return to Southampton despite checking in to Lennoxtown for pre-season training.
An increasing burden was placed on Kris Ajer, Odsonne Edouard and Ryan Christie. Olivier Ntcham had mentally checked out when a £10m bid from Porto was rejected by the Celtic CEO.
Early on last season Bolingoli and Leigh Griffiths provided red flags that something wasn’t right- Ferencvaros underlined that with Neil Lennon’s post-match deflection act piling more pressure on the remaining players with fingers being pointed.
Lawwell said nothing, Lennon remained in place. Once the first domestic defeat arrived it was followed by three more on the bounce at home. A virus depleted Sparta Prague beat Celtic 4-1 home and away, not a word was communicated to the fans.
In December, to take the heat off, a Managerial Review was announced with no timeline. Lawwell sanctioned a training trip to Dubai as Lockdown restrictions were stepped up. A game in hand at home to Aberdeen wasn’t seen as a priority.
Following the Dubai fall-out a less than humble Lawwell gave an interview to Celtic TV to run off a set of excuses.
Returning from Dubai Celtic had 15 players plus their manager and assistant forced to self isolate with four more points shipped away by understrength teams.
After the uncomfortable Dubai apology Celtic fans never heard again from the CEO until the official announcement that Lennon had resigned.
Ignoring that catalogue of horrors and reflecting on Postecoglou’s appointment through Lawwell tinted lenses, Keith Jackson told Daily Record readers:
His impact on Celtic has been a real life magic trick but it’s been no sleight of hand. What we have witnessed here is not some cheap illusion. This is the multi-million pound manifestation of a manager with an iron will, a contemporary philosophy and the courage of his own convictions.
Put it this way, the day after Eddie Howe finally headed for the hills after leading Celtic on a merry dance for what seemed like an eternity, I had a conversation with outgoing chief executive Peter Lawwell.
Without breaking any confidences, the phone call ended with one resounding message. ‘This guy has balls,’ is how Lawwell put it, having spent the previous 24 hours thrashing out the terms of the contract to bring him in on an SOS from the other side of the planet.
In real terms, having been waiting for Howe to make his mind up for so long, it took no time at all for Lawwell to convince Postecoglou to come to Celtic’s rescue. On the contrary, the big man was packing his suitcase while Lawwell was still on the other end of the line.
Howe didn’t head for the hills, he made it very clear that he was taking a year out of football management. If he was to take the Celtic job it would be after the Champions League qualifiers, further delaying the massive squad rebuild.
Howe wouldn’t be able to bring his desired backroom staff including Richard Hughes, despite family ties to Glasgow the Bournemouth Director of Football and his young family are very settled in the south of England.
The infrastructure that Howe found at Newcastle was absent from the proposal from Celtic.
The only merry dance was through preferred reporters claiming that Celtic were relaxed about the appointment of Howe as weeks turned into months. Finally in a panic and knowing that no UK based manager would go anywhere near a job with Lawwell lurking in the shadows the out-going CEO took up Frank Trimboli of the CAA Base Agency’s suggestion about Postecoglou.
Finally, Lawwell got something right, the law of averages finally came up in his favour. His choice as successor, Dom McKay lasted less than three months at Celtic.