Moan the Hoops

It inspires awe, unfortunately not in a good way: A club that has won nine championships in a row, not to mention three trebles, has some members of its fan base that excel at either hair-on-fire panic or terminal negativity — sometimes both — for essentially no good reason.

Even some members of the fan base — these same members, of course — who will swear on the graves of their ancestors that they love Celtic constantly, will also, at the same time, make it their sole purpose in life to slag the manager and specific players on the team.

You would think that this crass shallowness would be a hallmark of Glasgow’s other club, and one could successfully argue that it is. Which, of course, is all the more reason why it should stay there instead of encroaching onto the other side of Glasgow.

We’re better than that. Does that even warrant mentioning?

Maybe it does: Elements in the “support” — real or imagined — are calling for the removal of Neil Lennon while dragging players like James Forrest or Greg Taylor or Ryan Christie or fill-in-the-blank for the scapegoat du jour.


Greg Taylor: Just another day at the office.

Taylor is an above-average fullback who is still learning to play in the Celtic system. He’s not flashy; in fact, he’s what we call in America a “lunchpail player,” a guy who brings his lunchpail to work, puts his head down and does his job without fanfare or attention-grabbing. Is he the answer to Celtic’s problems? No. But he’s not the cause of them either. Primarily a defender who excels in that aspect of the game, Taylor would be ideal in a back 4 and his current role of supplying crosses into the opposition box is one that has come with a learning curve for him. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here because I think ultimately he’ll both succeed and be a more well-rounded player for it.

The ire towards Forrest and Christie is totally unwarranted. Both have consistently given all for the club every game, both have been brilliant overall for the Hoops, and Christie deserves special note for being constantly on the go, whether it’s the first minute or the 90th. Both have established themselves in a midfield that has a vast overstock of talent in it, not to mention both being a scoring threat for the entire 90 minutes.

I am as mystified as anyone at some of Lennon’s choices in the recent lineups, but I’m not at Lennoxtown making that decision. So I trust his vast knowledge of football, not to mention his staff’s, over my approximately two years of studying the game. Yet some of the armchair Steins among the support want to replace Lennon because of it? One question: With whom? Honestly, you want to abruptly halt the momentum the club has gained under Lennon because you don’t like it that he doesn’t play 3-5-2 enough? And even if you could replace him, who would you reasonably get to replace him at this point?

It’s perfectly all right to have an opinion. Unhappy with Lennon and his choices? So am I, but rather than calling him names or worse, I’m more than glad to hear him out. Do I think players deserve to be benched for having an off-day, or even worse, resort to name-calling? Absolutely not.

Criticism can take two forms: Positive and negative. Positive critique has been sorely lacking. The panty-wetting and negativity on forums and social media are beyond the pale and are downright embarrassing.

Again, we’re better than that.

This much is clear: The demands made of Celtic players are far greater than many other clubs. Second place is nothing, to be sure, and one of the main aspects of supporting a football club is experiencing the highs and lows, the good and bad, the euphoria and the horror. In an era marked by championships, “trebles,” and a vast array of silverware, there have been few “lows,” and even fewer “bads” and “horrors.”

Fans should be held to the same high standard, because the Celtic scarf doesn’t shrink to fit inferior supporters.

Mon the Hoops!

[Blogger’s note: Much of this item comes as a result of private discussions with a few friends from The Celtic Noise, and they will recognize their contributions herein. While they know who they are, I won’t identify them for privacy’s sake, but needless to say I gratefully appreciate and acknowledge their contributions.]

11 thoughts on “Moan the Hoops”

  1. As you say Larry, and quite rightly so, there is positive criticism and negative criticism. The problem I have with the GB and their hangers-on, is that they are spoiled rotten little bastards, who have known nothing but success in a Celtic sense. In their personal lives they have known no discipline whatsoever either at school, or from their parents. This is THE element of ‘supporters’ that must be addressed. Anything less tan perfection on the field and these snowflakes are not happy bunnies.

    If they cannot support the club/team/individual players in a true Celtic fashion, then they can feck off elsewhere and lend their ‘support’ to an EPL team…or even to the 2nd and 3rd best teams in Glasgow…Thistle and Queens Park respectively.

    That is not to say that we give UNCONDITIONAL support…if something is not right at the club, we have a right to complain…but not to moan. For example, the moron that is leaking team-sheets should be hunted down and taken care of…and I mean that in the Father Ted/Al Pacino sense. He should be given the boot, no matter how high up in the food chain he may be. Bastard Huns get everywhere.

    On to Riga, then Hibees on Sunday…and hoping Motherwell can do us a turn.

    Best wishes and Hail Hail.

    1. Agree — the lineup leaker should be fired. Thanks for pointing out the “unconditional support” aspect. Clearly there is room to voice opposition or objection to certain aspects of the club, but the way in which manifests itself is key. When pointing out objections or dissent, keep things on the positive. Otherwise, I really have no time for the nonsense, nor should anyone else.

      Hail Hail!

  2. It’s fine to rage but very immature and senseless to resort to name calling. NFL is our Manager and whether or not his baws are ginger is inconsequential! HH

  3. Sport, across the globe, is a valuable outlet for emotional responses and for normally stoic and reliable people to vent some spleen.

    I appreciate the opportunity that sport gives me to be less rational, less reserved and less restrained; however – as Larry hints at, it still has to be controlled, relative and relevant to the situation.

    Sport shouldn’t be the determining factor in our pursuit of happiness. In spite of the late Bill Shankley’s words, it’s still just a game.

    By all means, people are entitled to air their grievances, but in a world where hundreds of thousands of deaths have just become statistics and in a world where war and famine are still rife, and in a world where poverty, discrimination, homelessness and inequality are a frequently occurring theme – perhaps those of us who follow sport should put things back into perspective.

  4. If Jock Stein had to worry about what the fans thought about his line ups and if the ones sitting in the stands, players were not part of his plan they would not have been around to be included in the 9 in a row and 1967 success.
    We as armchair fans have the luxury of stating who we would like to see and why we think they would fit a particular game, a manager has to justify to his board why he should be kept on when his armchair tactics go wrong, when you are the boss the squad are your employees and how you use them to achieve your desired results is what keeps you in the job.
    Neil Lennon and co are Celtic fans first and foremost they want what we want, but he has to distance himself from our fantasies, for his game is all about winning and thats what matters at the end of a season and it’s why we are champions, clean sheets matter not if every clean sheet is a 0 0 whilst your rivals are racking up one goal difference results.

  5. Not an exercise I indulge in. I know my limits.

    I find Taylor wanting in the crossing dept but I’d prefer he grew into the job than was junked.

    Forrest and Christie have been very good value over the piece.

    I dont believe coaches have a magic wand but I think some have a better eye for positions that have to be strong than others.
    Foster last year and possibly Duffy this. I hate to say it but Walter Smith had that eye plus of course tax payers subsidy so he could recruit them.

    1. If last week’s game was any indication, I think Taylor is starting to get the hang of this “crossing into the box” thing. I would agree with you that preferably he’ll grow into the position, but my sense is that he’s getting there. Hail Hail!

  6. Excellent piece sir.
    Every point, a valid one.
    We have enough ‘enemies’ willing and and waiting for us to fall, without those in our ‘support’ giving them ammunition.
    When Celtic falters, the players and management staff know to expect some type of backlash.
    Rather than it be in the negative, we should be helping to prop them up, because they feel the intense pressure, more than we do.
    By all means, have an opinion, but keep it within the realm of respectful, reality, and enough with the negativity.
    We will get this done, with the support of every Celtic fan.

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