Celtic Diary Friday October 19
“He brings his experience and personality to the training ground. I always want legends around the club and there aren’t many bigger than Danny.” Actually, there aren’t any bigger than Danny.
Neil Lennon speaking on the appointment of Danny McGrain to first team coach, a move that will delight everyone connected with Celtic. Danny, who admits to making Kenny Dalglish the player he became, by “laying it on a plate for him” (BBC Alba documentary last week on Dalglish) is the ideal choice to replace Alan Thompson, and for those of you too young to remember him as a player, you really missed out on a guy who is, was, and will still be everything that you want in a Celt.
Danny could have played anywhere for anyone and was truly a world clas right back. Had he been at an English side, or played in Italy or Spain, he would have been in anyones all time eleven to play Mars in a friendly. As it turned out, he stayed at Celtic. Only Henrik Larsson in recent times can say the same, but with Danny it was different. his wages and the way the old board treated him, especialy when he retired, was nothing short of disgraceful, but his love for the club means he is still there. These days the word “dignity” is iften misused, and thats harsh , because Danny has it in his heart, a genuine man who thankfully never held a grudge.
And can he do the job? Well, ask Mikael Lustig. Since Danny got involved with the first team, a guy who we all thought wasn’t up to it, suddenly gets picked in the Chamions League eleven and helps his country to come back from four down in Germany. Coincidence? Well, ask Mikael Lustig.
Lennon has also looked at Scott Brown, and decided that “If the medical team were to feel it is a long term problem then they would shut him down automatically.” Brown , he feels , is in the best form of his career but admits to a “significant problem”. It seems Broony can handle the games, but as Bobby Murdoch once said, “you pay for it later”
Reading between the lines, it looks like Brown is finished with Scotland. Hopefully, the others will decide that a couple of years of meaningless games aren’t worth the hassle. Especially, if as we hear, Walter Smith gets the job.
After a couple of days silence while he chuckled away at the mess over in Govan, Lennon really felt it was good to talk yesterday. On the Gary Hooper new deal talks, and the transfer speculation, he said
“It is speculation. It wouldn’t surprise me if there are a number of clubs in for Gary because of the way he is, but I would poo-poo the Liverpool link.”
Another link to explain the term.
Still, it shows the commitment of Lennon to his players, and the promotion of Danny McGrain shows that Celtic are actualy becoming the club that looks after its own. The one we dreamed of as kids, before it became apparent that the likes of Dalglish, Macari and Hay realised, quite rightly , that the money on offer down south meant they just had to be Celtic fans again, and not players.
All three would manage the club intheir later years, and only Hay escaped the wrath of the support. But heres a wee story about Lou..
Around ten years ago, we were struggling for a guest speaker at our Christmas do. Lennon CSC North Staffs, that is, and as the wee man used to pick up his Racing Post fromthe shop where the wife worked at the time, I got her to ask him if he would consider it…
The night of the do was unfortunately timed with a trip to the airport to pick up his parents, but he still got there, racing up the stairs putting on his tie, where he was greeted with a chorus of “Skip to my Lou”
Afterwards, he asked how much we had raised for our nominated charity, and when we told him, he got his chequebook out, and matched the amount. And told me not to tell anyone, so I won’t.
The point is, some people are just Celts. And Lou, Kenny, Davey, Henrik, Lubo and Shunsuke always will be. And of course, so is Danny.
Thats because we judge people on who they are, not what they are, and thats why the club still survives, on its own merits. A wee bit of that self righteousness might have saved our old sparring partners from the south of the city, but they never had that identity of their own that was worth fighting for.
So balls to them.
This Saturday sees a visit to the west side drug den of Paisley, where Celtic face local heroes St. Mirren, named after one of the more obscure saints. Three points is a neccessity because the buddies are up there flying in a way they haven’t done since the days of Tony Fitzpatrick. Or Patrick Fitztony. Or whatever he was called.
Saints were part of the new revolution when Dundee Utd and Aberdeen were our main rivals. And long may it continue.
With the new , improved, (Aye right) version of the bankrupt bigots starting al over again until BDO come back to finish them off for good-we hear its going to happen on Halloween, which is kind of poetic, then its only good for Scottish football that a visit to Paisley actually has meaning to it, in the context of ataying at the top of the league.
And th chippies are better in Paisley.
Yesterdays teaser seems to be a bit tougher than I thought it would be, so think along the lines of Maleys physical disability.
Apart from that, enjoy the game tomorrow, and don’t give a thought to the “original Glasgow Derby” taking place at Hampden. Queens Park, after all, had played seven other teams from Glasgow before tha tax dodgers came along.
Come to think of it, can you name them? Or some of them? Or should the teaser just be a simple “What colour socks are you wearing?