Pitchforks and Flaming Torches

The John Collins Fan Club are a friendly bunch
The John Collins Fan Club is a friendly and welcoming organisation
Good Afternoon.

So John Collins has shaken Scottish football to its core, and insulted every single club and player.

Celtic should fire him and issue a grovelling apology.

And then he should be run out of town by angry, pitchfork-wielding, flaming torch-carrying fans.

Or perhaps not…

Too slow and not clever enough: John Collins says Scottish clubs don’t give Celtic preparation needed for Champions League

Before we get too carried away by the slightly lurid angle adopted by the Sunday Mail, let’s have a look at what Collins actually said.

The Sunday Mail ran with these quotes:

“We conceded too many goals in Europe last year. If you become open and detached against good players and teams you get punished.

“It’s something that doesn’t happen in Scotland. No disrespect to teams here but they’re not clever enough players or quick enough thinkers to punish us.”

But if you look in The Scotsman, you will find that they were just one small part of quite wide-ranging comments. Wherein Collins discusses Celtic’s shortcomings in trying to play a pretty ‘open’ style of football in Europe last season, and talks about being more ‘compact’ this year.

John Collins: Celtic must mind the gaps in Malmo

It’s quite a lengthy and interesting insight into what Ronny and John are trying to do at Celtic. But not quite interesting enough for the Sunday Mail to devote much space to it!

Overall, I think that on this occasion Collins has not (to use his own words against him) been clever enough.

Training is so tough at Celtic that players must limbo dance under that crossbar before they can go home
Training is so tough at Celtic that players must limbo dance under that crossbar before they can go home
He makes a perfectly reasonable point – that playing Scottish domestic football isn’t necessarily the best preparation for playing in Europe, and so Celtic have had to adapt the way they play.

However, any validity was always likely to be overshadowed by his choice of words towards other Scottish teams.

Especially as he failed to note that Celtic have bought a considerable number of good players from other SPFL clubs in recent years (although Collins would doubtless argue that by playing for Celtic they have ‘developed’!).

Collins also didn’t help his case by omitting to mention some of Celtic’s own shortcomings, such as

  • the standard of some of the recruits unearthed by the scouting operation; and
  • some outright poor performances.

What Collins has ended up doing is giving some in the media a stick with which to beat the club. And I have no doubt that it will be used over and over again!

But worse than that, the managers of all the other teams in Scotland now have a ready-made notice to pin up on the dressing room wall.

“Celtic think you aren’t clever and you are too slow”

If that doesn’t motivate all of Celtic’s opponents this season, I don’t know what will.

Nice one John!

Now go and do 1,000 press-ups as a punishment.



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