Like it or loathe it, and believe me I hate how important this is, football is a business. The people involved in it treat it as such, it’s just that the customers tend not to switch brand all that much. If Tesco do something to annoy you, you can go to Asda. If Celtic do something to annoy you, I doubt you’re going to Ibrox next week.
The employees of businesses are generally doing a job and getting paid for it. If the business do something to annoy you, or you hate your job, or you fancy a new challenge, or you get the chance to significantly increase your wages, or a combination of these, then there’s a decision to make. Do you move on or do you stay and hope it gets better?
Businesses do their best to manage this. They try and keep their best employees with good wages and incentives within their budget. They try to make the work environment a good one where even if someone does come along with a tempting offer you might be loathed to leave because you’re happy where you are. Or alternatively they get so wrapped up in the business side that they miss all this and make it a dreadful environment and penny pinch at every turn so all the good ones leave as soon as they can. Indeed in some businesses they’ll be glad to get the expensive ones off the wage bill and this was all part of the plan.
But ultimately everyone has that tipping point. The point comes that it’s no longer time to stay and it’s time to go. Maybe you don’t think you’re being treated fairly any more and your loyalty is taken for granted or even not valued at all. Then again, you can work in one place for fifteen years and be happy during all that time but maybe you’ve had enough and want a new challenge or better money.
We saw a lot of that this week with Kieran Tierney.
He’s been at the club since he was seven years old. He’s a Celtic fan through and through. He loves us, we love him. He’s just off the back of winning a treble treble, he’s played and scored for the club in Europe.
I’ll bet he’s just as frustrated that Celtic can’t really push on any further than we already have as much as the rest of us. He probably hopes Celtic strengthen to do what we can to compete at the highest level knowing we probably would be delighted with just making the last sixteen of the Champions League. He’d be as delighted as the rest of us if that happened – or if we surpassed even that and pulled off an Ajax.
But he doesn’t need to be an active part of it to do that. He’s a Celtic fan like the rest of us, nothing will ever change that, he can support us from London just as many others support us around the world.
It must have been a very difficult decision for Kieran. One where his heart said stay and his head said try something new and challenge yourself further and get paid handsomely for the privilege. In the end he went with his head, and I’m as disappointed as anyone that he’s gone.
I’m pretty sure a part of Kieran, the Celtic supporting part, will also be disappointed that the young Scotsman called Tierney isn’t at Celtic any more.
It really grinds my gears how some are questioning Tierney’s mentality or his love for the club. How dare he leave before ten in a row! Yes, I’m sure that was in his mind as well. If we do manage to surpass Jock Stein’s record then he’ll have been part of the story but not out there when it finally happens. The treble treble ensures he’ll be remembered as part of a legend, the fact he’s gone so soon means he’ll never be a legend in his own right.
But he doesn’t know the future, he doesn’t know if he’ll still be fit in two years time, he doesn’t know if a top English side will come in for him, he only knows they did now. He does know he’s had problems with injuries lately and that must put a lot of doubt in your mind.
Arsenal are a top side. They may not have won much lately, they may not be in the Champions League right now, but they have proper history and the potential to get back there again. There was no stepping stone for Kieran.
He’ll never lose his love of Celtic, of that I’m sure. You can’t fake the passion I’ve seen in him, the memories of rushing back from hospital to lift the Scottish Cup or the relationship he had with the Green Brigade. When he wasn’t playing he was in the stand with us, and somehow I think that part won’t change. London isn’t that far away after all.
But his Celtic playing days are gone, and as his career is now a career with us in the past, so too is Kieran Tierney the player in Celtic’s past. I wish him all the best, but now we move on and face Motherwell at Fir Park in our second league fixture of the season.
It will be difficult to match the first, given that Motherwell are better than St Johnstone and we’re going to a tricky venue where we actually haven’t won since December 2016 and the 4-3 victory that first had us truly believing we could go the whole season unbeaten. That late Tom Rogic winner has since been followed by three consecutive draws at Fir Park, so it’s about time we got another win there.
Motherwell opened up their league campaign with a goalless draw at Livingston in a game where the home side had the best chances. Their League Cup exploits saw them get maximum points from their section, although it was lower league opponents throughout. Today will be their first real test.
The two teams were linked through the summer due to the transfer saga of David Turnbull, one that was dealt with far too much on social media with the old STV people far too keen to appear open about every little detail as they try to stand out and do things differently. That only resulted in an embarrassing episode for both clubs and the player and his representatives, so hopefully the lesson of when not to say anything has been duly learned by all.
Turnbull has since had the operation that ultimately ended the deal, but who knows if he’ll come back the player he was promising to be and if he does will Celtic come back in for him? Only time will tell.
It’s always a tough ask to go away in Europe and then come back to a tricky away fixture, but after our 1-1 draw away to Cluj that’s just what we have to do. Jozo Simunovic serves out the second of his two match ban today, and I guess we’ll see if anyone else is rested or indeed back fit again when Neil Lennon’s team is announced.
This early in the season we don’t want to be dropping points if it can be avoided. A good start to the season gives you the confidence for the rest of it, no playing catch up. We had the perfect start last week, but Motherwell know they need to do more and if they can scalp the champions then it’s a terrific boost for themselves.
Hopefully that won’t happen though, and it’s another Celtic victory today. One that will please the Celtic supporters the whole world around, including that one wearing the number 3 for Arsenal.
Krys (Twitter @krys1888)