Charlie Nicholas has come out this morning in his newspaper column to comment on Celtic’s Champions League ‘failure’ this season.
Charlie has a history of bashing Celtic at every opportunity, but in recent times, especially since Ange Postecoglou has come into the club, Charlie has been much more supportive.
In his column today, he was still supportive of Ange and the players, but turned his anger towards the board, claiming they lack ambition at the Champions League level.
Here is what Nicholas had to say:
“Celtic’s Champions League campaign this season may have produced more plaudits than points but it’s time the powers-that-be give their manager a fighting chance to really compete.”
“Ange Postecoglou can’t turn his team into Champions League conquerors overnight and I’ve a bit of understanding and support for him after he had been fighting critics in recent weeks.”
“It’s the same criticism the likes of Gordon Strachan, Neil Lennon and even Brendan Rodgers faced when it came to Euro competition and I always felt the criticism should have gone to the board.”
“The questions were – ‘Where are you trying to get to? What is the ambition?’ – because Lennon and Rodgers were winning easy titles. For the most part they weren’t playing against anybody. They were receiving gifts.”
“My anger and frustration was always the same. When are you going to get ambitious? That is why I have full support for Ange because he has the determination to turn Celtic into a consistent Champions League team.”
The problem I have with Nicholas coming and blaming the board for not getting us good enough players to do better at this level is that he never said a peep about it until after the fact.
I don’t remember Nicholas coming out after the transfer window had shut saying how worried he was that Celtic hadn’t strengthened adequately or that he was angry with the board.
In fact, this is what he said in the lead up to our opening group match against Real Madrid:
“The elite of European football will arrive at Celtic Park tonight as Champions League football returns after a five-year absence – it will be a sensational night. The Parkhead faithful expect so much from this Celtic side now, knowing they are capable of causing major trouble to any team.”
“Celtic have the potential to go two goals up inside the first twenty minutes, given how well they have been starting lately.”
“But Celtic are good enough to give them a bloody nose and I can maybe see this as a 2-2.”
“I can’t wait for those games to come back. There’s something that gives me the vibe that Celtic are ready to take the big scalps again at Celtic Park and memorable nights.”
So, as you can see, Charlie clearly felt Celtic were good enough to do well in this season’s Champions League, yet, after the fact, it’s all the board’s fault for not being ambitions enough?
Charlie is being a classic ‘after-timer’ here.
This current board, in terms of transfers, have given Ange everything he has asked for and he’s stated numerous times how good his relationship is with the board.
The truth is we were strong enough and good enough to compete at this level, particularly in the group we had this season, but unfortunately we just weren’t good enough to take our chances.
No one could have predicted that we would have such an abundance of chances in these games but that we would miss all but two of them.
The board have been to blame for a lot of things over the years, but you can’t blame them for our players not taking their chances, and that’s the reason why we aren’t sitting in a much better position in the group right now.