Should Celtic continue to be profligate in attack and inordinately vulnerable in defence, their chances of seven successive titles will be critically undermined. Since a football masterclass at Pittodrie, Celtic have dropped six points against Kilmarnock, Motherwell and Hibs. They have drawn five games from sixteen played. A mere five points separates Celtic from Rangers Lite despite the fact that the latter have lost four games and are being coached by a guy who should be out of his depth at this level. Lite have only drawn three of their 17 games played, and won just one less than Celtic. Should Celtic draw their game in hand against Partick Thistle, and on recent form this is not improbable, and assuming both Celtic and Lite secure full points from their respective visits to the Capital, they will go into the 30th December showdown with Lite facing the possibility of a three point gap, or even less should Celtic not prevail at home against Aberdeen.
If Celtic play as poorly as they did yesterday, their unbeaten record will not remain intact at the turn of the year. Had it not been for a Lustig clearance on the line, Celtic would have left Easter Road with nothing. Gaining one point from a fluked second goal was more than their play warranted. Their raspberry strip was the cue for many to blow raspberries at their performance.
James Forrest should take a long hard look at himself. With time to run round the ball to get it on his favoured right foot he could not hit the target. This is just not good enough. He was unmarked as he intercepted a suicidal pass across the 18 yard line, yet could not beat the goalkeeper. He should have been hooked against Anderlecht but Hayes was not on the bench. Hayes replaced him in this game and duly reinforced the point that he is Rodger’s worst ever signing. Celtic have to look to a loan signing, who is currently injured, for a cutting edge on the right flank. This dearth on the right flank, compounded by Lustig losing a yard and being constantly caught out of position, is being exploited in every game. Boyata and Simunovic remain unconvincing at the soft centre of Celtic’s defence.
If they don’t get their act together, Windass with Miller/Morelos and Pena will wipe the floor with them. Murty fashioned a draw against Rodger’s juggernaut last year. Could he go one better with a win at Celtic Park on the 30th December? Who needs McInnes when Celtic are this poor?
Carlos Pena, who has not featured in Mexico’s national team since his debut in 2012, is on fire. He is the Pogba of the Scottish Premiership. If truth be told he is the only member of the Lite squad who would warrant inclusion in a Celtic team who are not getting much purchase from Armstrong or Ntcham. Caixinha, who managed a title-winning team in Mexico, made an astute purchase when he snapped up Pena. He is currently valued at £2.25m. If he continues to improve he will be sold for 5 times this quantum or more to an English Premiership outfit. Those who turn up at Ibrox in their fisherman’s waders and red hand flies for some sectarian fishing have a new Baxter in their midst. Yes he really is that good. He’s a good looking boy and as a Rangers Lite player knickers will be dropping faster than a fireman down a pole. If he can keep himself out of the fleshpots and fashions a ‘steady’ he will continue to improve. The problem lesser mortals face is staying up all night looking for a click. Pena will be handed underwear with numbers in lipstick within minutes of entering a club; assuming of course that the Glasgow girls are wearing undergarments which in my experience is often not the case. A Bertie Bassett and a stick of liquorice usually suffices when they are on the pull.
I digress. The central thesis of this article is the damp squib that I included in yesterday’s piece as an adjunct. There were high hopes that the Fans For Justice movement would have its day in court. Saturday’s bombshell was as follows:
“Fans of many clubs were concerned by the SFA’s refusal to join with the SPFL in a review of the actions of both organisations over the last 10 years. Processes used by both organisations were clearly insufficient and rules were inadequate to properly deal with deliberate rule breaking, deception and financially irresponsible behaviour by at least one member club.
In response to the SFA’s refusal, a process was undertaken by fans to investigate whether a Judicial Review of that refusal was possible. A national firm of Solicitors was engaged, and they in turn instructed a prominent QC to provide opinion on the matter.
The Opinion, which we accept, is that the SFA were entitled to refuse the SPFL request. It is irrelevant whether this refusal was illogical, self serving or protectionist. There is not a case in law to force the SFA to comply with even a perfectly reasonable request which is in the best interests of the game in Scotland.”
Are we being played as fools? What a limp response. We were told to keep our powder dry. We anticipated a crowdfund appeal? And now this. Have we all been Fannies For Justice?
The SFA, which answers to their member clubs, will always refuse to comply with any investigation which puts them in a bad light. This should not have been the focus of this legal redress.
The LNS Commission, and its recommendations, should be challenged in a court of law. Is it just me or do I detect the unseen hand of someone on the Celtic board advising these well-heeled Celtic fans to back off and await the Compliance Officer’s decision on Resolution 12?
Allow me to put this bluntly. Any organisation that can come up with ‘imperfectly registered but eligible‘ apropos 55 players driving a coach and horses through SFA regulations will come up with a fudge. No SFA employee is going to hang his principals out to dry.
LNS was the Achilles Heel. Campbell Ogilvie’s lies in his personal submission should have been taken to task. Stewart Regan’s inclusion on the supervisory panel and his role in defining the LNS remit should have been challenged. LNS’ conclusion that EBT were not illegal, and as they could have been used by other clubs conferred no competitive advantage, was unequivocally refuted by The Supreme Court.
The latter point is a slam dunk. Any advocate worth his salt would cogently argue that a fine of £250,000 was not fitting of the crime, namely systemic tax evasion on an industrial scale.
So why did these well-heeled Celtic fans pursue an argument they could not win? Are they all transfixed by Resolution 12? Not good enough gentlemen. Not even fucking close.
If the RTC blogger would care to contact me, and work in unison with me, I will initiate crowdfunded legal redress. Should we both continue to be mindful of our anonymity we will require a third party to front our consortium. I would invite John Clark who contributes to the SFM.
So why not go it on my own? I can barely raise enough money to pay the rent and I have not had a holiday since starting this site and being forced into exile. A kind reader has offered me a coach flight and free accommodation with his family in Buenos Aires, but I would not turn up without the means to buy him a bottle of red wine in gratitude.
If RTC and JC joined forces with me I have no doubt that we could rip the guts out of this whitewash. I am loath to praise the SFM as they harbour two small-minded guttersnipes who hang on my every word looking for a dipthong out of place. However in the best interests of my readers I have borrowed their latest editorial piece which has many parallels to the article I published on Saturday (jj passim: Caravansevco) –
“This headline ( It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one) is a quote by George Washington, but it is also friendly advice to Keith Jackson of the Daily Record in response to his ‘exclusive’ today on the reasons Derek McInnes turned down Rangers.
May I begin by drawing people’s attention to two statements by the same organisation on what was essentially the same subject matter:
Aberdeen FC Statement 14th June 2017:
“The club can confirm that early this afternoon Sunderland FC agreed to meet all the contractual obligations for both Derek McInnes and Tony Docherty and they have, reluctantly, been granted permission to speak with both of them about the vacant managerial position at Sunderland.
Aberdeen FC will be making no further comment at this moment in time.”
Aberdeen FC Statement 5th December 2017
“Aberdeen Football Club has announced this evening that Rangers have contacted the Club asking for permission to speak to Derek McInnes and that permission has been refused.”
It is clear from the first statement there are contractual obligations that, when met, mean the club must allow their manager the option of dialogue with interested parties, however reluctant the club may be.
Although money is not mentioned, contractual obligations can only relate to the commitments on either side to terminate the agreement and these are usually financial. In the case of an interested suitor, it would be expected of them to pay this on behalf of the employee.
There is no mention of contractual obligations in the club statement on 5th December, from which one can only infer that Rangers either refused, or were in no position to meet, the financial commitments required. Aberdeen FC therefore exercised their right to refuse permission to speak to McInnes, a position they are perfectly entitled to maintain until such time as Rangers agree to meet all contractual obligations, just as Sunderland did.
The story for the press to pursue is obvious yet Keith Jackson wants to have us believe that the McInnes decision -and ultimately it was his decision – has nothing to do with money. Jackson even suggested that an offer of £1m up-front was on the table in a piece that was published on Wednesday:
In it, Jackson states;
“Dons chairman Stewart Milne made his hardball position clear last night after booting out an official approach from the Ibrox club – and turning down a cheque for £1 million in compensation.”
I’m not entirely sure what Mr Jackson means by an ‘official’ approach, I would have thought ‘formal’ to be more apposite but it’s a moot point in the grand scheme of things. Fact is, Jackson didn’t think long and hard enough about this statement because it contains not one, or two, but three glaring inaccuracies.
Mr Milne did not ‘boot out’ any approach – official, formal or otherwise. If Rangers had met the necessary contractual obligations then Aberdeen FC could not have refused McInnes the opportunity to speak to Rangers – that would have been a breach of contract on the club’s part and McInnes could sue.
Mr Milne is not ’playing hardball’. Playing hardball is about getting what you want. Mr Milne already has what he wants. He doesn’t need to play hardball – it is Rangers who, if they cannot afford the compensation or wish to alter the terms of the compensation, would need to attempt to play hardball. Jackson has this the wrong way around – a common failing when trying to justify a lie and pursue a biased narrative.
I don’t dispute that Rangers offered to pay £1 million in compensation, but I do not believe for one millisecond that it would be paid in a single instalment either by cheque, cash or bank transfer because the audited accounts published last month prove that such a commitment would not be possible. A shortfall of £4m was required in soft loans to see out the current season, with monies required immediately, and a further £3.2m after June 18. Furthermore, these figures did not consider the additional cost of a change of management at the club/holding company/engine room subsidiary/call it what you will.
It’s rather telling that Mr Jackson makes no mention of this £1m cheque in his ‘exclusive’ today. Instead, he offers another inaccuracy. He says’;
“When Milne made it clear he was unwilling to grant the move his blessing – and that McInnes would have to rip up his contract to pursue a return to Ibrox – the ex-Rangers player was boxed into a corner.”
Mr Milne is in no position to grant a move, whether with his blessing or otherwise. There is a binding contract in place and only if contractual obligations are met then – as is glaringly obvious from the Aberdeen Club Statement of 14th June – Mr Milne would have to, albeit reluctantly, allow the manager to speak to the other club, just as he did in the case of Sunderland. He cannot box his manager into a corner. There is no decision for Mr Milne to make if the requisite compensation is agreed to be paid in full to terminate the manager’s contract with Aberdeen FC.
More plausibly, Rangers could box McInnes into a corner. The job is his if he wants it, but he will have to resign his position to take it because Rangers won’t meet the contractual obligations. Once again Jackson has it the wrong way around because he is lying and pursuing a biased narrative.
Any reasonably minded follower of Scottish football knows why McInnes is not going to Rangers. It’s all about the money – or the lack of it – and no amount of lying or high-level fantasy by award winning journalists will alter that prosaic fact.”
To my mind this is the perfect riposte to Jackson’s PR-fed reportage, King’s ‘Massive Club’ bombast and Je Suis Graham’s lavatorial metaphor which implied that McInnes bottled it.
As I have stated consistently in a number of articles Rangers Lite do not have a pot to piss in. No amount of obfuscation and circumlocution can obscure this prosaic fact.