As he moved towards the large glass doors, the man in the elegant suit and overcoat turned up his collar and nodded to the security guard.
The guard duly opened the door and the man stepped out into the cold dark Glasgow night.
It was late and as per usual, there was no-one around the ground when the man left his office. Sometimes of course he was working over the other side of the city or off somewhere abroad. He was often away from the ground attending meetings but in December, he was usually back at the office, preparing for the “January Sales” as his boss liked to call them.
The man made his way to collect his car when he suddenly noticed something unusual. Every night when the man left the ground he would look down towards the main road and see the statues alight heralding former heroes. This night was different. All was darkness and the man couldn’t see any statues.
The only light in fact seemed to be coming from a pale green glimmer 100 yards out that the man knew had no right to be there. The man looked around to see if any security personnel were on inspection but seeing himself alone, he made his way forward towards the unexpected light.
As the man approached, his eyes gradually took in all he could see.
There stood 3 men gathered around what the man recognized as a Nativity Scene. The scene was shining brightly and the 3 men stared down seemingly oblivious to the man approaching.
The man could see that the 3 men were a strange combination of bedfellows.
One was a priest in long dark robes, probably a visitor from overseas thought the man. Another was a tall impressive man with short smart hair who stood proud and erect. The other was a small wiry haired man who seemed to fidget, almost dance from side to side in the strange light emitting from this surprise nativity.
The 3 men suddenly parted to make space for the mans arrival. The man found himself stepping into the vacancy to face the nativity. The man could not remember approving this installation and before he could take note to remember and check up on it in the morning, a voice spoke.
The man stared towards the priest, then the tall man and then the small man. None had spoken.
The voiced then said “Welcome Peter Lawwell”. The man recognised a Lanarkshire accent in the powerful voice within his head.
“Look at the Scene, Peter, what do you see?” asked the voice.
The man again looked towards the men by his side but they continued to look down upon the scene.
The man looked down at the nativity scene and took in the standard image of parents, child, shepherds, animals and Kings all within a lowly stable.
“Its the Nativity” answered Peter Lawwell into the night.
“No” said the voice.
“No?” asked Lawwell.
“It is the Celtic Nativity” said the voice.
The 3 men next to Lawwell all nodded in unison.
“Celtic Nativity? I don’t understand” said Lawwell and at this the small man’s body seemed to almost giggle although no sound was made, while Lawwell thought the other men, the Priest and the Tall Man seemed to make a soft sighing motion with their chests.
The voice then said “Look closely” and Lawwell leant in a little further.
The light around the edge of the scene suddenly seemed to glow and then the stable was bathed in bright green light.
The voice said “The Stable represents the Love of Celtic. It represents the East End of Glasgow and indeed every city in every country. It represents every low quality area that Celtic supporters have had to call home as they were thrown to the cruellest of winds by fate and history. It reminds us that regardless of where they were cast and the awful hardship[s faced and even still faced today, the love in their hearts never diminished and indeed continues to grow stronger. This is no Lowly Stable but represents the greatest starting ground in the world for it is only from the finest earth that the greatest and strongest trees shall grow. It is only with the strongest foundations that any can prosper and reach further up toward the sky!”.
The 3 men next to Lawwell all nodded in unison and the light around the stable dimmed.
The light around the animals then shone the same bright green.
The voice then said “The animals represent the Celtic staff. All who provide to ensure all is well. See how they stand proud. Without this strong spine, none could walk. They do not ask for anything that they do not need or deserve. They only wish to trust and be trusted, to love and be loved. They wish only to be treated with respect and will loving offer up all they can give in support of the greater good for the Celtic family.”
The light then moved to glow around the Shepherds.
“The Shepherds are the custodians of Celtic.” said the voice.
“But what about the Kings?” asked a surprised Lawwell to which once again the small man appeared to giggle and the taller men sighed as one.
“You are no King, Peter Lawwell. Like the Shepherd, your job is to protect. Your role is to ensure Celtic life continues, safe and well from the dangers and foes within and beyond. Your role is to ensure everyone feels safe and no lamb is ever left behind, no matter how lowly. Your vocation is to ensure good for all the Celtic family. All must be treated equal, none must be neglected and none must be favoured. You must do right by all to ensure all is right” concluded the voice as the light dimmed around the Shepherds.
The light moved towards the Kings. Lawwell leaned in even closer.
The voice said “The Kings represent the Heroes of Celtic. They are the champions within the supporters hearts. They are the inspiration. All look towards the Kings for the dreams of today, tomorrow and yesterday, but remember, dreams while strong can also fade or are replaced and it is the Shepherds that provide the protection and trust that lasts forever!”
Once again the 3 men beside Lawwell all nodded in unison.
The light then moved to the crib where the parent stood around the messiah child. The voice said “Behold the Celtic family. The embodiment of love, peace and understanding. Like all families there will be fruit and friction but like all families, love conquers all. See how the child embodies the future and is smiled upon by its elders who will champion its journey in life and pray it goes onto greatness in the world. See the father smile, the mothers hope, the child’s rays of optimism for a date with destiny that will favour all. You must do all you can to protect this family Peter Lawwell. This is your vocation!”
The 3 men nodded yet again and Lawwell found himself nodding too.
A light then moved to the star, shining above the stable but it was not green like the rest had been. This shone a pale blue.
“What’s the blue light?” asked Lawwell.
“This is the future. The Star are the hopes and ambitions of the Celtic Family and that scene is not yet written” said the voice. “You now face a journey Peter Lawwell and the colour of this star can only be green should you be the Good Shepherd that you must be. You must take the steps needed to protect the family, at all costs and regardless of personal danger or discomfort?”
“When?” asked Lawwell.
The voice said ” The journey has already begun. If you have strayed from the path then you must find it again. You must protect the family. Do not look to protect the Kings, they will fade and grow. Do not worry for your fellow shepherds, some will fall but others rise when needed. You must protect the family and see that the animals are well protected. They in turn will protect you when the time is needed and all shall be finally as it should be in the world. Remember this Peter Lawwell. Remember well”.
At this Lawwell turned to see the 3 men nod once more in unison and then they all seemed to step back into the darkness.
Lawwell turned back towards the nativity and to his surprise found himself staring at some paving stones in the shadows.
“Sir, Mr Lawwell sir, you okay?” said a voice suddenly to his right.
Lawwell turned to see a security guard coming down the Celtic Way towards him.
Behind the security Guard, Lawwell could once again see the statues of Brother Walfrid, Billy McNeill, Jimmy Johnstone and could see the bust of Jock Stein almost staring back at him.
“Need a hand getting to your car?” asked the guard
“No thanks, I’m fine” said Lawwell before concluding “I know exactly where I need to be going!”