FORMER SPL Chief Roger Mitchell is as outspoken as it gets when it comes to Scottish football. The Celtic fan believes he is in the minority when it comes to the Celtic ‘tribe’ and has no truck saying he doesn’t care about SPFL title wins unless the Hoops are achieving things in Europe.
There are many camps within the Celtic support; some of those lines are drawn through support or lack of support for Peter Lawwell – our former chief executive.
There are fans who cannot believe we’d have a bad word to say against Peter for what he delivered for the club — making Celtic the dominant side in Scottish football. There are others more in tune with Mitchell — wondering why Celtic weren’t reaching for the stars in Europe when The Rangers had to start again back in 2012.
I fall somewhere in the middle; domestic success is our bread and butter and the memories I have throughout the past twenty years when it comes to Celtic’s title wins will live with me forever. I can’t relate to Rodger when he says he can’t get excited about Celtic winning trophies. However, I can relate to the frustration he feels when it comes to the European stage. Celtic appear to be satisfied over the piece by being just better than their nearest domestic rivals and have a ‘we’re just happy to be here’ vibes when it comes to Europe.
Celtic is a European club built on some fantastic stories and triumphs abroad. Not winning a latter stage knockout tie since 2004 is a damning indictment of the club. What’s more, Celtic Park is treated like an attraction by visiting opposition in Europe. They all rave about the atmosphere, but they’re not scared by it because the team on the pitch rarely push their buttons or give them something to think about.
There has to be an attitude shift when it comes to Europe and it’s not an overnight thing. Ange Postecoglou has the desire and the drive to make something happen — but he needs to be backed by the men in suits — even when some of the figures to bring in real quality make them uncomfortable.
Asked about if he’d ever take on a role at Celtic — Mitchell told Graham Spiers on the Press Box podcast that would never happen while Dermot Desmond remains in charge:
“First of all, Dermot is not the kind of guy that wants somebody opinionated and awkward like me.
“That’s that’s the first thing out the block.
“The second thing is that I am not in tune with the bulk of Celtic fans and that I have a little truck with Quadruple Trebles when you’re getting knocked out by diddy teams in Europe while you are still on the summer time zone.
“You know, that’s not me.
“So those years that most of the Celtic fans were lording it up in bragging rights about 12-11 tournaments or cups in a row.
“I was just looking at the European results and dying. So I’m not representative of the tribe if I can say that.”
Roger is a very intelligent, articulate and astute individual. He knows all about Glasgow’s mucky fish bowl and the scrutiny anyone taking a role at Celtic comes under.
The future for Celtic has to be outside the SPFL — whether that ever happens is still a source of debate. Celtic and The Rangers leaving the league at some point — paying a dowry to the clubs in Scotland on the way out could breath new life into European ambition.
I’m sceptical that can ever happen — the way the Super League was introduced then attacked by hypocritical UEFA and Premier League pundits shows there’s going to be a resistant to any sort of major change in the footballing landscape.
Ultimately — I’m as frustrated as Roger when it comes to the Hoops potential — we know Celtic can be a powerhouse given the right ingredients. For now — it’s about making progress — there are three European Competitions up for grabs. There’s no reason Celtic shouldn’t be in the later conversation of at least one of them.