They say that money makes the world go round. And that is certainly true.
But there is also a place for laughing at rank hypocrisy.
Step forward Derek McInnes, the happy-go-lucky manager of Aberdeen Football Club.
But before I go any further, let me say that I have a good deal of respect for the job he is doing at Aberdeen.
The club won its first trophy in some years in 2014, and is resurgent in the league. With a fair wind, The Clumpany quite fancied them to make the Europa League group stages, and was disappointed when they went out last week.
[Any passing Aberdeen fans might like to re-read those last three sentences a few times to avoid concluding that I am an Aberdeen ‘hater’ when they peruse following paragraphs…]
As The Clumpany reported yesterday, John Collins made an unfortunate choice of words when suggesting that domestic football doesn’t fully prepare Celtic for the challenge of playing in Europe.
His point may have been a valid one, but suggesting that the players in Scotland are not as ‘clever’ or quick-witted as their continental counterparts was always likely to draw flack, and provide the managers of 41 other teams with a free team-talk!
They also distracted from some genuinely interesting remarks about the way he, Ronny and the Celtic team are trying to approach Europe this season, after some less-than-convincing performances last year.
Inevitably, the media gave Derek McInnes the opportunity to respond to Collins following Aberdeen’s 2-0 win at home to Kilmarnock yesterday. And his comments have prompted the Daily Record to slip into full-on ‘tabloid mode’.
And such was the Record’s excitement that they offered readers four options to take a pop at Collins, and only one where they can simply agree with him.
Not only that, but they also seem to have completely forgotten about Celtic’s League Cup win last season.
Easily done, I suppose.
To be fair to the Record, they did also ran a story about Stuart McCall saying that John Collins may have had a point.
So what has McInnes actually said?
“He’s entitled to his opinion but if it was that easy they would win the Treble every year.”
Of course Collins never actually said that playing in the domestic game was easy, Derek. But don’t let that stop you!
“I think it’s very disparaging, it’s a poor comment.”
“Whether he thinks that or not, I think it’s disrespectful to the rest of the league to say that. It’s disappointing.”
“There is a level of competition there that can test them and I think what he said is a slap in the face to the rest of the league.”
Personally, I would rather Collins had said something other than the handful of ‘disrespectful’ words, but (as reported) I think McInnes is getting things a little out of proportion!
But the best is yet to come…
“He’s got a lot to say for an assistant manager, to be honest”.
I think that’s a proper handbagging for John Collins!
To suggest that Collins is saying too much ‘for an assistant manager’ is as laughable as it is arrogant.
Whether you love him, loathe him or simply don’t care, Collins was a very good footballer who achieved success at a number of clubs – including overseas – and who won a lot of caps.
He is a senior figure in the management of a very successful club, and also managed to win the Scottish League Cup when a manager in his own right (an achievement that certainly puts Collins on a par with McInnes).
So if Collins speaks, it is with a certain experience and knowledge of the game, and is at least worth hearing out. Just because he is an ‘assistant’ shouldn’t limit his ability to speak, or mean that his views are irrelevant.
Celtic certainly agree and are happy to put him in front of the media. And I am glad about that.
Personally I would like to think that the club routinely reflects upon what it says, and will (for example) review Collins’ comments and think about what (if anything) might be done differently next time. But I wouldn’t make a big deal out of it. It’s just normal business.
You have to wonder what would McInnes would have ‘assistant’ Collins do? Conduct press conferences via the medium of mime?!
But before McInnes has Collins do anything, he might want to look back at his own recent comments following Aberdeen’s (exciting) 2-2 draw at home to Rijeka in Europa League qualifying…
“No-one will test our discipline domestically like that and their movement and swiftness of their play was excellent. They really tested us”
What’s that Derek?
Surely you aren’t suggesting that your domestic opposition aren’t offering you a stern-enough challenge, and that the players in Scotland aren’t clever or quick-witted enough?
Because that would make yesterday’s comments rank hypocrisy!
I’m away to get a pitchfork and a flaming torch!
NB The Clumpany would (belatedly) like to thank the excellent @celticnewsnow for tweeting this blog since the start. It is much appreciated. They have a new app which is well worth a look! Give it a try!
iOS app: ticly.co/gi