Monday, May 25, 2009

Fond goodbyes?

Goodbye then dear Gordon. The reign ended as it started - that humiliating game against Artmedia set the tone, the meek surrender of this season's title will be the memory that defines the fans opinion of the ginger scamp.

Which is unfair. Three titles on the bounce. Six trophies. And, whisper it, further Champion's League progress than the sainted Martin O'Neill achieved with a far better group of players.

But the fans have never accepted Strachan and the unique pressures of the Old Firm have taken their toll - the wit that once brought Match of the Day riches has increasingly become a defence mechanism. The sarcasm that was once self depreciating has become aggressive. The end result is that Strachan leaves Glasgow a far less attractive proposition than he once was.

Will he find himself at Sunderland? Possibly. The pragmatism that he brought to Celtic is sorely needed at the Stadium of Light. But football fans live on vibes and feelings and the Sunderland fans will be well aware of the doubts that cascaded from the stands in Glasgow.

Time will tell. For now both Strachan and Celtic need to regroup. If nothing else the departure has been handled badly. The manager is said to have made his decision some time ago. That comes as no surprise and it might, however subconsciously, explain Celtic's apparent detachment in the last few weeks.

But a new manager now comes in with potentially tricky Champion's League qualifiers and having to play catch up with a Rangers team that will be rejuvenated by the promise of a European bonanza.

Celtic must choose carefully if they are to learn from the mistakes of the past four years.